Rabies is a serious and fatal viral infection that affects the central nervous system of humans and animals. It is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals, usually by bites or scratches. Rabies can cause symptoms such as fever, headache, agitation, confusion, hydrophobia, and paralysis. Without timely treatment, rabies can lead to coma and death.
Rabid Animals Found in Several Counties
According to local health authorities, several rabid animals have been found in different counties of the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) this season. These include raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats. Some of these animals have come into contact with domestic pets or livestock, posing a risk of transmission to humans.
The latest incident happened on Sept. 20, when a vaccinated dog fought with a raccoon on Yelton Farm Road in Appling, Columbia County. The raccoon was collected by Columbia County Animal Services and tested positive for rabies. The dog was given a booster shot and placed under observation for 45 days.
Other counties that have reported rabid animals include Richmond, McDuffie, and Saluda. In total, about a dozen cases of rabies have been confirmed across the CSRA.
How to Prevent and Treat Rabies
Rabies is preventable if people take some precautions and seek medical attention as soon as possible after exposure. Health experts recommend the following steps:
- Vaccinate your pets and farm animals against rabies and keep them away from wild animals.
- Avoid feeding or approaching wild animals or stray dogs and cats.
- Teach your children not to touch or play with unfamiliar animals.
- If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and contact your doctor or local health department immediately.
- If the animal that bit you can be captured or observed, follow the instructions of the health officials to determine whether it has rabies.
- If you are exposed to rabies, you will need to receive a series of shots to prevent the infection from taking hold. This includes a fast-acting shot called rabies immune globulin and four doses of rabies vaccine over 14 days.
Rabies is a serious threat to public health and animal welfare. By being aware of the signs and symptoms of rabies, avoiding contact with potentially infected animals, and seeking prompt medical care after exposure, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from this deadly disease.