SC health officials urging rabies awareness

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina health officials are hoping to raise awareness of efforts to wipe out rabies.

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control says that Friday is World Rabies Day. State health officials say that about 275 people a year in South Carolina are advised to get preventive medical treatment after being exposed to rabid animals.

So far this year, DHEC says the number of people in the state who have gotten such treatment is at 263.

Officials say the rabies virus travels slowly through the body until it reaches the brain and central nervous system and produces serious initial symptoms including headache, difficulty swallowing, seizures, anxiety, agitation and confusion. Most patients die within a few weeks after the onset of these symptoms.