News Releases

News Releases

Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Williamsburg County; One Person Potentially Exposed

May 20, 2024

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near Cade and Barrineau roads in Cades, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. One person was potentially exposed and has been referred to their health care provider.

The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on May 16, 2024, and was confirmed to have rabies on May 17, 2024. If you believe 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 Public Health Conway office at (843) 915-8801 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2).

"Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite or scratch that allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal," said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program director. "However, infected saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies. To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals their space. 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 a wildlife rehabilitator. Please report all animal bites, scratches, and exposures to potentially rabid animals to DHEC.”

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 first animal in Williamsburg County to test positive for rabies in 2024. There have been 28 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2023, one of the 78 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Williamsburg County.

Contact information for local Public Health offices is available at For more information on rabies, visit or



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