Abbeville County Residents Urged To Avoid Wild Animals
An Abbeville County man is under a doctor's care and receiving inoculations to prevent rabies after coming into contact with a raccoon that has tested positive for the disease.
According to Sue Ferguson of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health, the man came into contact with the raccoon while hunting in northwestern Abbeville County between Lowndesville and Abbeville.
"Because rabies is fatal to humans and animals, anyone bitten, scratched or otherwise exposed to the saliva of a rabid animal must undergo immediate preventive measures to stop the virus from reaching the brain," Ferguson said. "State law requires that all pets be vaccinated against rabies, and we strongly encourage residents to avoid contact with stray animals and make sure their own pets have been vaccinated to protect both the pets and their owners.
"Be wary of tame animals 'acting wild' and wild animals 'acting tame' and if you are bitten or scratched by a wild animal or domestic pet, immediately wash the wound with plenty of soap and water," she said. "DHEC advises the public to be sure to get immediate medical attention for any possible exposure to the saliva of a rabid animal and to be sure to report the incident to DHEC."
Ferguson said that about 400 South Carolinians have to undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year after being bitten by a rabid or suspected rabid animal.
This is the second confirmed rabid animal in Abbeville County in 2007. In 2006, eight animals were confirmed with rabies in the county and there were 180 confirmed cases of rabies in animals in South Carolina. So far this year, there have been 33 confirmed cases in animals in the state.