The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is warning people about the risk of rabies after one person in Lexington County was potentially exposed by a raccoon, according to a press release.
DHEC says exposure to the raccoon occurred near the City of Lexington, and the raccoon was confirmed to have rabies on May 11.
There have been 27 confirmed cases of rabies in the state so far this year.
"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. However, saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies," said David Vaughan, director of DHEC Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division in the release.
DHEC advises keeping pets updated on their rabies vaccination, as this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect families and pets from the disease.
"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," said Vaughan.
If someone thinks they may have been exposed to rabies, DHEC advises in the release to wash the area, get medical attention and report the incident to their local DHEC Bureau of Environmental Health Services office.