The state health department is reminding people to refrain from adopting wild animals, because they can carry rabies, which can be transmitted without a bite.
The statement follows 23 people being evaluated for the disease after they adopted a fox in the woods of North Carolina and brought it to York County, S.C.
The press release quoted Sue Ferguson of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health:
"We cannot stress enough the importance of resisting the urge to adopt wildlife," Ferguson said. "Despite the prevalent folklore, there is no way to tell from looking at an animal whether or not it has rabies, and baby animals can carry the disease without showing symptoms as well.
"Therefore, anyone bitten, scratched or otherwise exposed to the saliva of a rabid animal must undergo immediate measures to stop the virus from reaching the brain because once the rabies virus reaches the brain the disease is fatal to humans and animals."
Earlier this month, 35 people were exposed to a wild rabies-contaminated raccoon after a family adopted the animal.