Residents Advised to Vaccinate Pets

Armen Hareyan's picture
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A Leesville man who was bitten by a dog that has tested positive for rabies is under a doctor's care and receiving inoculations to prevent the disease, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced.

According to Sue Ferguson of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health, the dog did not have a current rabies vaccination.

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"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. "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 first confirmed rabid animal in Lexington County in 2007. In 2006, there were six animals confirmed cases of rabies in the county and 180 confirmed cases of rabies in animals in South Carolina. So far this year, there have been 15 confirmed cases in animals in the state.

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