COLUMBIA, S.C. – One person tested positive for rabies after coming into contact with a rabid raccoon that walked into a South Carolina hospital last week, state health officials said.
The person was tested Dec. 18 after the wild animal walked into Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia, the Department of Health and Environmental Control said. The victim, who has not been identified, found out they tested positive the following day.
The raccoon is the 14th animal in Lexington County to test positive for rabies this year. Statewide, there have been 167 rabid animals.
“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space,” Terri McCollister, rabies program team leader for the state health agency, said in a statement. “If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator.”