The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a fox found near Molly Creek Circle and Century Drive in Ridgeway, SC has tested positive for rabies. No people are known to have been exposed at this time. One dog was exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.

Red fox
Image/Laubenstein Ronald, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The fox was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on August 30, 2021, and was confirmed to have rabies on August 31, 2021.

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“Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite or scratch which allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal. However, infected saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “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, wildlife control operator, or a wildlife rehabilitator. Please report all animal bites, scratches, and exposures to potentially rabid animals to DHEC.”

If you believe that you, someone you know, or your pets have come into contact with this fox or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Columbia office at (803) 896-0620 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2).

It is important to keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccination, as this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease. This fox is the second animal in Fairfield County to test positive for rabies in 2021. There have been 62 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, none of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Fairfield County.