Rabid fox bite raises concerns for Aiken

An Aiken woman was bitten by a fox that later tested positive for rabies and other residents are being warned to avoid wild animals and to vaccinate pets, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said Monday.

The state could not release details about the incident other than it took place on May 18 within the city limits of Aiken, citing federal privacy laws, spokesman Adam Myrick said. The woman was advised to undergo the post-exposure treatment, he said.

Tests on the fox came back positive Monday.

It is the second rabid animal in Aiken this year after a raccoon also tested positive for rabies. Foxes, raccoons and skunks are typically the top three animals to test positive for rabies each year in South Carolina, Myrick said. There were nine confirmed rabid animals in Aiken last year and 107 statewide. There have been 55 cases so far this year, which is about on pace for last year, Myrick said. The incident underscores the need to avoid wild animals, he said.

“You can be exposed to the virus via the saliva of a rabid animal,” Myrick said, even without a bite or scratch. It also underscores the need to vaccinate pets against rabies, which is actually state law, he said.

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