FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today that one person has been referred to their health care provider after being potentially exposed to rabies by a pet dog that tested positive for the disease.
On Sept 4, the dog began to show abnormal behavior such as ramming into objects, obsessive digging, lethargy, and extra salivation. During this time, the victim was potentially exposed to the dog's saliva while trying to provide care for the animal.
The incident occurred in the Cedar Creek/Hoke Road area of Lancaster County. The dog was submitted to DHEC's laboratory on Sept 6 and confirmed to have rabies the next day. Pets, particularly those that stay outdoors, have the potential to come in contact with wild or stray animals. If unexplainable wounds are found on your pet, immediately seek veterinary treatment.
In addition, keeping your pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccination is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect yourself, your family, and your pets from this fatal disease.
"Rabies is transmitted when saliva or neural tissue of an infected animal is introduced into the body of a person or animal," said Sandra Craig, Director, DHEC Food Protection and Rabies Prevention Division. "This usually occurs through a bite; however, saliva contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies."
If a person or pet comes into contact with an animal and there is a possibility of rabies transmission, the incident should be reported to the local DHEC Bureau of Environmental Health Services (BEHS) office during normal business hours (Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM).
To report a bite or exposure on holidays and/or times outside of normal business hours, please call the DHEC After-Hours Service number (888) 847-0902.
The dog is the first animal in Lancaster County to test positive for rabies in 2017. There have been 48 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year. In 2016, two of the 94 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Lancaster County.
Residents can contact their local Bureau of Environmental Health Services office using DHEC's interactive map: http://www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/DHECLocations/. For more information on rabies visit: www.scdhec.gov/rabies or www.cdc.gov/rabies.
DHEC Media Relations