A rabid fox in the Summerville area sent four people Thursday to get checked for the disease after being exposed, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The fox was the first animal to test positive for rabies in Berkeley County this year.

In 2013, the department said there were 124 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide. So far this year, there have been 81 confirmed cases.

The health department used the incident to remind people to "avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild."

Sandra Craig of the department's Bureau of Environ- mental Health Services says about 275 South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, with most exposures coming from bites or scratches by a rabid or suspected rabid animal.

"Wild animals contract the disease most often, but domestic pets can contract rabies as well," said Craig.

"If you think you have been exposed to the rabies virus through a bite, scratch or the saliva of a possibly infected animal, immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water.

"Then be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC."

For more information about rabies, see DHEC's web page at www.scdhec.gov/rabies.