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Coroner: South Carolina woman dies from rabies

Coroner: South Carolina woman dies from rabies

December 20th, 2011 in News

SUMTER, S.C. (AP) - The Sumter County woman who was diagnosed with South Carolina's first human rabies case in more than 50 years has died.

Sumter County Coroner Harvin Bullock said that 46-year-old Ivy Durant died about 10:15 p.m. Monday.

Authorities say Durant contracted rabies from a bat bite about a month ago.

Health officials say rabies is a virus transmitted through saliva when someone is bitten. The disease travels slowly, taking weeks to reach the brain and nervous system. Once there, symptoms like headaches and seizures begin and the infection is almost always fatal.

Treatment for rabies is almost always effective if given before symptoms appear. But bat bites can be very small and hard to notice.

South Carolina's last documented rabies case in a person was in Florence County in 1959.