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Third rabies case of 2012 spurs advisory in Aiken County

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:29 PM
Last updated 8:09 PM
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Aiken County residents were warned Tuesday to avoid contact with suspicious animals after a raccoon tested positive for rabies.

Sue Ferguson of the S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control said the newest case is the third in that county this year, with nine cases during 2011.

“Avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild,” she said, adding also that pet owners should be sure their pets’ rabies vaccinations are up to date, as state law requires.

“About 275 South Carolinians are advised to undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, with most exposures from being bitten or scratched by a rabid or suspected rabid animal,” she said.

There were 107 confirmed cases of animal rabies during 2011 in South Carolina. There have been 64 confirmed cases in animals statewide 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,” she said. “Then be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC.”

Rabies in South Carolina:

CDC fact sheet on rabies:

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burninater 06/12/12 - 02:44 pm
The getting medical attention

The getting medical attention part really needs to be emphasized in this article. If you are exposed to rabies, by the time you are symptomatic it is untreatable and you will most likely die. In fact, until recently it was considered 100% fatal. Several young victims have survived recently by being put into a medically-induced coma during the lethal brain inflammation stage of the infection, but it's really not a chance you want to take.

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