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News Releases

Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Beaufort County; No Known Human Exposures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 22, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near Huspa Plantation Road and Paige Point Road Sheldon, SC has tested positive for rabies. There are no known human exposures reported at this time; however, one dog was exposed on May 17.

The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on May 19 and was confirmed to have rabies on May 20.

Please contact DHEC if you know of any possible human or animal exposure. Be sure to immediately wash any part of your body that may have come into contact with saliva or neural tissue with plenty of soap and water, and seek medical attention. Exposure is defined as a bite, scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected animal.

"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space," said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. "If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it as the possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere and anytime. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator."

If you believe that you, someone you know, or your pets have come into contact with this skunk or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Beaufort office at (843) 846-1030 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday). To report a bite or exposure on holidays or times outside of normal business hours, please call the DHEC after-hours service number at (888) 847-0902.

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 raccoon is the third animal in  Beaufort County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 45 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, 4 of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Beaufort County.

Contact information for local DHEC 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.

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