The United States has reported dog rabies to be eradicated since 2007. However, the recent surge in the importation of dogs have led to increased rabies incidence in some areas of the country and an import ban on dogs from a number of countries.
Dogs can spread the rabies virus for up to 2 weeks before showing signs or symptoms of the disease. Rabies is spread through saliva and can infect other animals and people through bites and scratches, or when saliva comes in contact with open sores or wounds and the mucous membranes, such as the eyes and the mouth.
People who were exposed to the virus should seek medical help at the soonest possible time because once the symptoms appear, it is usually too late for medical treatment to be administered and it could be fatal at that stage.
Early signs of rabies infection include flu-like symptoms, such as high fever, headache, sore throat, nausea, and vomiting. The infection can then progress to partial paralysis, involuntary muscle twitching, rigid neck muscles, difficulty in swallowing, convulsions, and hyperventilation.
Later stages of rabies infection may include coma, and death may occur if the patient is not provided with a ventilator.
The best way to avoid getting the virus is to vaccinate your dogs and cats. It is also recommended to be cautious when approaching wild animals, since they are more likely to be carriers of the virus.
The Pitbull puppy is the first to be tested positive for rabies in Edgefield County in 2021. In 2020, they reported 1 case out of the 168 rabies cases in the entire state of South Carolina.