COLUMBIA, SC — Two Midlands area residents were put on rabies treatments after they were bitten by wild animals, state health officials reported Thursday.
A Richland County man was bitten by a raccoon that tested positive for rabies, and a Kershaw County woman was bitten near Camden by a fox that tested positive for rabies.
That makes 81 confirmed cases of rabies reported so far this year in South Carolina.
About 275 South Carolinians undergo rabies treatments each year because they were bitten or scratched by a wild animal that either tested positive for rabies or was suspected of having rabies, Sue Ferguson of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services said in a release.
The rule of thumb for avoiding exposure to a rabies-infected animal is to avoid wild animals that are acting tame and domesticated animals that are acting wild. Even though wild animals are most often the carriers or rabies, the family pet can also become infected. Thats why state law requires regular vaccinations against rabies for cats and dogs.
If you think youve been exposed to rabies by a bite, scratch or saliva of a possibly infected animal, wash the affected area and seek medical attention. Left untreated, rabies is a killer, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control warns.