The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed two more cases of rabies this week. In Anderson County, a skunk found near Liberty Highway in Liberty, tested positive for rabies. And in Richland County, a raccoon found near Doe Drive and Farmgate Drive in Little Mountain, tested positive. No people are known to have been exposed at this time. In each case, one dog was exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.
The skunk and raccoon were submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on June 26, 2021 and were confirmed to have rabies on June 28, 2021.
“Keeping your pets up to date on their rabies vaccination is the easiest way to protect you and your family from this deadly virus,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to humans or pets. So, give wild and stray animals plenty of space. In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats, but pets are just as susceptible to the virus. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control officer, or a wildlife rehabilitator. If you believe that you or someone you know has had contact with or been potentially exposed to this or another suspect animal, please reach out to your local Environmental Affairs office. An exposure is defined as direct contact (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth) with saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from an infected animal.”
If your pet is found with wounds of unknown origin, please consider that your pet may have been exposed to rabies and contact your local DHEC Environmental Affairs office during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2). The number for the agency’s Anderson office is (864) 260-5585, and the Columbia office is (803) 896-0620.
It is important to keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccination, as this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease. This skunk is the third animal in Anderson County to test positive for rabies in 2021. In 2020, six of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Anderson County.
The raccoon is the fifth animal in Richland County to test positive for rabies in 2021. In 2020, eight of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Richland County. There have been 39 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year.
Contact information for local Environmental Affairs Offices is available at www.scdhec.gov/EAoffices. For more information on rabies, visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies or www.cdc.gov/rabies.