Rabid Skunk Confirmed in Spartanburg County; One Person Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Dec. 4, 2023
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a skunk found near Sandy Ford Road near Lake Blalock in Chesnee, S.C. has tested positive for rabies. One person was exposed and has been referred to their health care provider.
The skunk was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on November 29, 2023, and was confirmed to have rabies on November 30, 2023. If you believe you, someone you know or your pets have come in contact with this skunk or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Public Health Upstate Greenville-Spartanburg office at (864) 372-3270 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).
“Keeping your pets up to date on their rabies vaccination is the easiest way to protect you and your family from this deadly virus,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program director. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to people or pets. Therefore, give wild and stray animals plenty of space.”
In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats, but pets are just as susceptible to the virus. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control officer, or a wildlife rehabilitator. 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.
This skunk is the third animal in Spartanburg County to test positive for rabies in 2023. There have been 75 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2022, one of the 83 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Spartanburg County.