The Department of Health and Environmental Control in South Carolina warned that a goat might have exposed nine people to rabies.
According to reports, the nine people were exposed to rabies while handling the goat in their property located southwest of Honea Path. The animal was immediately surrendered to the DHEC for testing and was confirmed to have rabies.
Rabies is a viral disease that affects mammals. The vast majority of the cases of rabies reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention occur in wild animals, including foxes, raccoons, skunks, and bats.
Pets and livestock are also vulnerable to the disease.
“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,” stated David Vaughn, the director of Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division at the DHEC. “However, saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies.”
Vaughn advised the public to stay away from any stray and wild animals. If they see any animal in need, it is better to contact the local animal control or wildlife rehabilitation that have people who are trained to handle animals that may be rabid.
He also reminded pet owners to vaccinate their dogs and cats to protect themselves and their families from the deadly disease. The DHEC strongly recommends that livestock that frequently come in contact with humans, such as horses and animals used for raw milk be vaccinated against rabies.
“Rabies is a threat to pets, livestock, wild animals and humans,” he reiterated.
The goat is the third confirmed case of rabies in Anderson County since January. Overall, there have been 25 confirmed cases of rabies in South Carolina in 2019.
According to the CDC, people who might have come in contact with a potentially rabid animal should immediately wash any wounds with soap and water immediately. This will reduce any risk of infection.
It is also recommended to seek medical attention for any wounds and to get a rabies vaccination.