DHEC: Raccoon potentially exposed person to rabies in West Colum - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

DHEC: Raccoon potentially exposed person to rabies in West Columbia

(Source: Google Earth) (Source: Google Earth)
(Source: DHEC) (Source: DHEC)

One person has been referred to receive medical attention after potentially being exposed to rabies.

According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, a raccoon was found injured near Mt. Hermon Lutheran Church in West Columbia on March 10. Officials said the potentially infected raccoon was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation facility, where the raccoon bit the victim while the animal was being evaluated.

The raccoon was taken to a DHEC lab and later confirmed to have rabies.

"Rabies is transmitted when saliva or neural tissue of an infected animal is introduced into the body of a healthy person or animal. This usually occurs through a bite; however, saliva contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies," said Sandra Craig of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health Services.

Officials said the raccoon is the second animal in Lexington County to test positive for rabies in 2017. South Carolina has had 10 confirmed cases of animal rabies this year.

Last year, five of 94 statewide rabies cases were in Lexington County.

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