South Carolina health officials say that 3 people are undergoing post-exposure care after being potentially exposed to rabies.
According to a statement issued on the Department of Health and Environmental Control website, one incident took place in a rural area of Newberry County. DHEC didn’t reveal a lot of details but said that a person was exposed when a skunk fought with two dogs. The skunk was tested for the virus a day later; that test came back positive.
The second incident took place just a couple of days after that and involved 2 people in Kershaw County. Again, DHEC did not disclose a lot of details but said that the people reported being attacked by a fox. That fox ultimately tested positive for rabies as well.
In all, three dogs were taken to be held in quarantine. The dog exposed by the fox was up on its rabies vaccination and will only be held for 45 days. The 2 dogs exposed by the skunk, unfortunately, were not and will be held for 6 months.
This is the first known animal rabies case in Newberry County this year. Last year, 6 cases were confirmed. The fox was the third Kershaw County animal to test positive; there were no confirmed animal cases at all last year.
In all, 94 confirmed cases of rabies were documented in South Carolina in 2016. So far in 2017 the count stands at 24.
By state law, dogs, cats and ferrets must be kept on a vaccination schedule. Any physician treating an animal bite–pet, stray or wild–is required to report the bite to the local county health department. Parents and guardians are legally required to report any animal bite suffered by a child.
Officials say that the primary carriers of rabies in South Carolina are: