Rabid Raccoons Confirmed in Lexington and Lancaster Counties; 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 Squirrel Hollow Road and Durham Lane in Lexington, SC has tested positive for rabies. There are no known human exposures reported at this time; however, three dogs were exposed on May 15.
The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on May 18 and was confirmed to have rabies on May 19.
Also, DHEC confirmed that a raccoon found near Snow Drive and Monroe Highway in Lancaster, SC has tested positive for rabies. There are no known human exposures reported at this time; however, a dog was exposed on May 14.
The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on May 15 and was confirmed to have rabies on May 18.
"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, family members, or pets have come into contact with this raccoon or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Columbia office at (803) 896-0620, or the Lancaster office at (803) 285-7461 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.
- The raccoon is the fifth animal in Lexington County to test positive for rabies in 2020. In 2019, 17 of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Lexington County.
- This raccoon is the second animal in Lancaster County to test positive for rabies in 2020. In 2019, one of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Lancaster County.
There have been 45 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year.