Rabid raccoon bites Woodruff teen - FOX Carolina 21

Rabid raccoon bites Woodruff teen

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COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

State health officials said a teen boy in Woodruff was bitten by a raccoon that tested positive for rabies this week.

Department of Health and Environmental Control officials did not release further information about the teenager's condition.

"About 275 South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, with most exposures coming from bites or scratches by a rabid or suspected rabid animal," said Sue Ferguson of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health. "Wild animals carry the disease most often, but domestic pets can contract rabies as well."

DHEC encourages people avoid wild animals that behave tame as well as tame animals that act wild to avoid exposure to rabies.

Ferguson said state law requires pet owners to have their pets regularly vaccinated against rabies.

"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," Ferguson said. "Then be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC."

According to Ferguson, there have been 133 confirmed cases of animal rabies in South Carolina this year, which is 26 cases more than in 2011. Last December, a Sumter County woman died from rabies.

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