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A goat that tested positive for rabies has prompted South Carolina health officials to refer at least nine people to their health care providers after being potentially exposed to rabies by a goat in Anderson County.

Image/Chraecker via pixabay
Image/Chraecker via pixabay

The potential exposures occurred when the victims were handling the goat on their property southwest of Honea Path, S.C. The goat was submitted to Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) laboratory for testing on March 8 and was confirmed to have rabies later that day.

“Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite which allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal,” said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC’s Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. “However, saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies. To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals their space. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator.”

Keeping pets up to date on their rabies vaccination is one of the easiest and most effective ways for residents to protect themselves, their family and pets from this fatal disease.

“Rabies is a threat to pets, livestock, wild animals and humans,” Vaughan said.

This goat is the third animal in Anderson County to test positive for rabies in 2019. There have been 25 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year.

In 2018, there were 100 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide. Since 2013, South Carolina has averaged approximately 108 positive cases per year. In 2018, four of the 100 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Anderson County.