Two adults exposed to rabies by dog

cwinston@thestate.comOctober 22, 2013 

— Two adults in Fairfield County were possibly exposed to rabies by a dog, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced Tuesday.

The two people, who were exposed in the Winnsboro area, are undergoing post-exposure treatments.

While about 275 South Carolina residents undergo rabies treatments each year, most are due to exposure to wild animals that have the disease or are suspected of carrying the disease. But domestic pets can contract rabies as well, said Sue Ferguson, with DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health Sciences.

So far this year, two dogs and three cats have been diagnosed with rabies, she said. Ferguson said state law requires pet owners to have their pets regularly vaccinated against the disease.

There were 137 confirmed cases of animal rabies last year in South Carolina. There have been 102 confirmed cases in animals so far this year.

"If you think you have been exposed to the rabies virus through a bite, scratch or the saliva of a possibly infected animal, immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water," Ferguson said. "Then be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC."

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