Just got this release, and I’ve gotta wonder: Who has to be advised not to do this? Anyway, I pass it on on account of some of y’all really being into animals and all…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2008
Residents advised to refrain from adopting wild animals
COLUMBIA – For the second time in a month, citizens are advised to
beware of wild animals of any age and refrain from "adopting" them
because of the risk from rabies, the S.C. Department of Health and
Environmental Control said today.
"A pair of young foxes was found in the woods of North Carolina and
taken to York County where they were cared for by several people," said
Sue Ferguson of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health. "At present, 23
people have been evaluated after they were exposed to rabies by one of
the foxes, which tested positive for the disease at DHEC’s Bureau of
"As of Friday morning, several people in North Carolina are being
evaluated, and at least four people in South Carolina are under the care
of a physician and receiving preventive inoculations," Ferguson said.
"Those numbers might change as the investigation continues in order to
determine whether there are others who need to be evaluated for possible
It is important to remember that the disease can be transmitted without
According to Ferguson, the disease is spread through an infected
animal’s saliva. Many of the exposures occurred when handling and
feeding the fox, as well as letting it lick their faces, as caretakers
came into contact with the fox’s saliva.
"We cannot stress enough the importance of resisting the urge to adopt
wildlife," Ferguson said. "Despite the prevalent folklore, there is no
way to tell from looking at an animal whether or not it has rabies, and
baby animals can carry the disease without showing symptoms as well.
"Therefore, anyone bitten, scratched or otherwise exposed to the saliva
of a rabid animal must undergo immediate measures to stop the virus from
reaching the brain because once the rabies virus reaches the brain the
disease is fatal to humans and animals.
"Hundreds of animals are tested in our state each year and rabies has
been found in all South Carolina counties," Ferguson said. "About 400
South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every
year costing the state thousands of dollars. Most exposures come from
being bitten or scratched by a rabid or suspected rabid animal.
"Wild animals carry the disease most often and can roam many miles
daily, but domestic pets can contract rabies as well, so we remind
residents that the best protection for people and their pets is to make
sure pets are regularly vaccinated against the disease, as is required
under state law," she said. "Make every effort to stay away from wild
animals, but 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, then
be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC."
This is the second large-scale exposure to rabies in the state this
month resulting from a wild animal adoption. This is the third confirmed
rabid animal in York County in 2008. In 2007, 16 rabid animals were
confirmed in the county and there were 162 confirmed cases of rabies in
animals in South Carolina. So far this year, there have been 50
confirmed cases in animals in the state.
For more information about rabies, see DHEC’s Web page at:
http://www.scdhec.gov/rabies or contact DHEC’s York County
Environmental Health office at (803) 909-7379. The national Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention’s Web page about rabies can be found