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Rabid fox confirmed after pair of attacks in North Augusta

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 3:49 PM EDT
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NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed Friday that a fox found between Crestview Avenue and Lake Avenue in North Augusta has tested positive for rabies.

One dog was exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act. It’s unclear whether an attack on a man exposed him.

The fox was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on Wednesday and was confirmed to have rabies on Thursday.

DHEC says people should report all animal bites, scratches and exposures to potentially rabid animals by visiting https://scdhec.gov/ea-regional-offices.

DHEC reported the finding after two fox attacks and one encounter in the neighborhood put authorities and residents on high alert.

At 9:43 p.m. Wednesday, a 68-year-old man went to a hospital after he was attacked by a fox in Hammond Hill.

Thursday at 7 a.m., the North Augusta Department of Public Safety responded to a home in the general area where a dog was bitten by a fox.

This North Augusta dog was bitten by a rabid fox. Luckily the dog's rabies vaccination was up...
This North Augusta dog was bitten by a rabid fox. Luckily the dog's rabies vaccination was up to date.(WRDW)

The bitten dog is expected to recover. It was up to date on its rabies vaccination, authorities confirm.

Earlier in the week in a less aggressive encounter, a fox reportedly ran off with someone’s cellphone in the same area. It’s unknown whether it was the same fox.

Another local rabies case

The reports of the rabid fox came amid concerns about another local case of rabies in a puppy.

The tan-and-white pit bull puppy was about 7 weeks old and weighed about 5 pounds. DHEC reported the puppy was born in Edgefield County, near Lanier Road in Johnston. It and a littermate were taken to Augusta from July 14-17. Staff have learned that both puppies were brought to a gathering in Clearwater around the same time. The littermate is unaccounted for and was allegedly given away during the gathering. The rabid puppy was later taken to a birthday party in Florence.

Anyone who came into contact with the puppy’s saliva may have been exposed to rabies and should seek medical attention.

Anyone who attended the Clearwater gathering or who may have had or is in contact with the littermate puppy should contact their health care provider and DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Aiken office at 803-642-1637 or Florence office at 843-661-4825 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday) or after-hours and on holidays at 888-847-0902 (Select Option 2).

Residents are reminded not to approach foxes or wildlife. Pet owners are urged to get their pets vaccinated for rabies to significantly decrease a pet’s chances of catching the disease if bitten.

There have been at least 48 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year.

“The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and can be transmitted through a bite, scratch, broken skin, and the mucous membranes of your eyes, nose, or mouth. Immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water,” said Terri McCollister, rabies program team leader for DHEC.

If your pet is found with wounds of unknown origin, consider that your pet may have been exposed to rabies and call 803-642-1637 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday) or call 888-847-0902, Option 2, at other times.

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