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      Fox exposes Lexington county resident to rabies

      A Lexington county resident has been exposed to rabies.

      LEXINGTON COUNTY (WACH) - A Lexington county resident has been exposed to rabies.

      State health officials said they have referred one person to see a health care provider after being exposed to a fox that tested positive for the disease.

      DHEC officials said the infected fox is in the Gilbert area of Lexington County.

      "To reduce the risk of getting rabies, we recommend that people avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild," said Sandra Craig of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services (BEHS). "About 275 South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, with most exposures coming from bites or scratches by a rabid or suspected rabid animal. Wild animals contract the disease most often, but domestic pets can contract rabies as well."

      There were 124 confirmed cases of animal rabies during 2013 in South Carolina. There have been 83 confirmed cases in animals statewide this year. This animal is the fourth to test positive in 2014 from Lexington County. There were 13 animals that tested positive in Lexington County in 2013.

      "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," Craig said. "Then be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC."

      For more information about rabies, visit DHEC's webpage, or contact your local DHEC office.