The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Wednesday that 18 people have been referred to their health care providers after being potentially exposed to rabies by a puppy that tested positive for the disease.

The potential exposures occurred between Aug. 22 and Sept. 6 when the victims were either bitten, scratched or exposed while having contact with the animal.

The puppy was described as a small black and brown shepherd mix. It was rescued near Interstate 95 close to Mount Zion Road and Bruce Road in St. George.

The puppy was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on Sept. 7 and was confirmed to have rabies on Sept. 8.

This puppy is the third animal in Dorchester County to test positive for rabies in 2019.

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There have been 102 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2013, South Carolina has averaged approximately 108 positive cases a year.

In 2018, none of the 100 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Dorchester County.

If you have reason to believe that you, your family members, or your pets have come into contact with this puppy, or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Charleston office at 843-953-0150 during normal business hours.

Be sure to immediately wash any part of your body that may have come into contact with saliva or neural tissue with plenty of soap and water and seek medical attention.

To report a bite or exposure on holidays or times outside of normal business hours, please call the DHEC after-hours service number at 888-847-0902.

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