SCDHEC report – Piedmont skunk tests positive for rabies

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The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed that four wild animals were submitted to the Public Health Lab for rabies testing on September 26, tested positive for rabies.
1. A skunk found near Cypress Springs Road and Timms Road in Piedmont tested positive for rabies. No people are known to have been exposed at this time. Two dogs were exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.
2. A bat found near Rangeview Circle and Ashe Drive in Greenville tested positive for rabies. No people or pets are known to have been exposed at this time.
3. A skunk found near Runnymeade Road and Homeland Road in Pickens tested positive for rabies. No people are known to have been exposed at this time. One dog was exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.
4. A fox found near Mitchell Road and Dailey Creek Road in Saluda tested positive for rabies. No people or pets are known to have been exposed at this time.
Never handle a bat or any wild or stray animal, alive or dead, with your bare hands. Any bat that could have had potential contact with people, pets, or livestock should be safely trapped in a sealed container and not touched. Once a bat is released, it cannot be tested for rabies. Never release a bat that has potentially exposed a person or pet.
“Rabid bats have been known to transmit the rabies virus,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “People don’t always realize they or a pet have been bitten since bat teeth are tiny and bites are easy to overlook. Because of this, you should always assume a person or pet has potentially been bitten when:
⦁ They wake up to find a bat in a room or tent;
⦁ A bat is found where children, pets, or persons with impaired mental capacity (intoxicated or mentally disabled) have been left unattended; or
⦁ They have been in direct contact with a bat.”
You cannot tell if a bat, or any other animal, has rabies by simply looking at it. Rabies must be confirmed in a laboratory. Unusual behavior in bats that might indicate the animal has rabies includes daytime activity, inability to fly, and being found in places they are not usually seen, like in your home or on your lawn. Exposure is defined as a bite, scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected animal. Be sure to immediately wash any part of your body that may have come in contact with saliva or neural tissue with plenty of soap and water and seek medical attention.
If you believe that you, someone you know, or your pets have come in contact with either of these skunks, this bat, and or this fox, or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Anderson office at (864) 260-5585, Greenville office at (864) 372-3273, or the Aiken office at (803) 642-1637 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).
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. The Anderson County skunk is the fifth animal in that county to test positive for rabies, the Greenville County bat is the third animal in that county to test positive for rabies, the Pickens County skunk is the seventh animal in that county to test positive for rabies, and the Saluda County fox is the second animal in that county to test positive for rabies in 2022. There have been 59 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2021, of the 101 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina, five were in Anderson County, six were in Greenville County, eight were in Pickens County, and zero were in Saluda County.
Contact information for your local Environmental Affairs Health offices is available at www.scdhec.gov/EAoffices. For more information on rabies, visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies or www.cdc.gov/rabies.