FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A fox found near South Deepwood and South Persimmon Ford Roads in Johnsonville has tested positive for rabies, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

One person was exposed and referred to their health care provider, DHEC said.

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

“It is very important for you to seek medical attention if you have been exposed to a wild, stray or domestic animal,” said Terri McCollister, director of DHEC’s rabies program. “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. Contact your local Public Health office for further guidance.”

The fox is the fourth animal in Florence County to test positive for rabies in 2023, according to DHEC. There have been 68 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year.

In 2022, one of the 83 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina was in Florence County.

DHEC encourages people to keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccination, as this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease.

If you believe that you, someone you know, or your pets have come in contact with this fox or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC’s Public Health Florence office at (843) 661-4835 during normal business hours or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 and select option 2.

Please report all animal bites, scratches, and exposures to potentially rabid animals to DHEC.