Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Greenwood County; No Known Exposures
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Dec. 1, 2022
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near Ninety Six Highway and Butler Circle in Ninety Six, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. No people or pets are known to have been exposed at this time.
The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on November 29, 2022, and was confirmed to have rabies on November 30, 2022.
“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control operator, or 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.
If you believe that you, someone you know, or your pets have come in contact with this raccoon, or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Greenwood office at (864) 227-5915 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 which is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease. This raccoon is the third animal in Greenwood County to test positive for rabies in 2022. There have been 80 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2021, three of the 101 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Greenwood County.