A Beaufort County resident may have been exposed to rabies after "exposure" to a fox that had the disease near Bluffton, according to a news release from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The individual is not named in the release. How he or she was exposed to rabies is not disclosed.
According to the release, rabies is usually transmitted through a bite, but saliva or neural tissue of a rabid animal may infect a person if it comes into contact with open wounds, the eyes, nose or mouth.
The fox was confirmed to have rabies on June 12, the release said. The individual exposed to it was referred to their healthcare provider Thursday.
"This fox is the fourth animal in Beaufort County to test positive for rabies in 2018," the release said. "There have been 36 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year. In 2017, five of the 63 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Beaufort County."
Keeping pets vaccinated against rabies is "one of the easiest and most effective ways" to protect oneself and pets against the disease, the release said.
If you think you have been exposed to rabies, it is important to immediately wash the area and seek medical attention, according to the release. The incident should be reported to the local DHEC Bureau of Environmental Health Services.
Residents can contact their local Bureau of Environmental Health Services office using DHEC's interactive map: www.scdhec.gov/EAOffices.