One person is seeking medical attention after possibly being exposed to rabies by a raccoon that tested positive for the disease in the Mt. Pleasant area, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
“Be sure to never handle a wild or stray animal with your bare hands,” said Sandra Craig of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health Services. “Once symptoms of rabies are present in an animal, it is impossible to tell by appearance if an animal has rabies or some other condition.”
“Rabies is a deadly virus that is transmitted when saliva or neural tissue of an infected animal is introduced into the body, usually through a bite or contact with an open wound or areas such as the mouth or eyes,” said Craig. “Hundreds of South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year.”
Ways to keep yourself safe from rabies include giving animals their space, especially if they are wild or stray, and keep pets up-to date on their rabies vaccination.
The raccoon is the first animal in Charleston County to test positive for rabies in 2016. There have been 63 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year. In 2015, none of the 130 rabies cases in South Carolina were in Charleston County.