Anderson County Goat Potentially Exposes Nine People to Rabies
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today that nine people have been referred to their health care providers after being potentially exposed to rabies by a goat that tested positive for the disease.
The potential exposures occurred when the victims were handling the goat on their property southwest of Honea Path, S.C. The goat was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on March 8 and was confirmed to have rabies later that day.
"Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite which allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal," said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. "However, 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 or wildlife rehabilitator."
Keeping pets up to date on their rabies vaccination is one of the easiest and most effective ways for residents to protect themselves, their family and pets from this fatal disease.
"Rabies is a threat to pets, livestock, wild animals and humans,” Vaughan said.
Though not required by state law, DHEC strongly recommends that owners also vaccinate horses, livestock in frequent contact with humans, livestock that are particularly valuable, and animals used for raw milk or raw milk products.
Anyone with reason to believe they, their family or pets have come into contact with an animal that potentially has rabies should call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Anderson office at 864-260-5585 during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.). Be sure to immediately wash any body part that may have come into contact with saliva or neural tissue with plenty of soap and water, and seek medical attention.
To report a bite or exposure during holidays or times outside normal business hours, please call the DHEC after-hours service number at 888-847-0902.
This goat is the third animal in Anderson County to test positive for rabies in 2019. There have been 25 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year.
In 2018, there were 100 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide. Since 2013, South Carolina has averaged approximately 108 positive cases per year. In 2018, four of the 100 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Anderson County.
Contact information for DHEC's local Bureau of Environmental Health Services offices is available at scdhec.gov/EAOffices. For more information about rabies, visit scdhec.gov/rabies or cdc.gov/rabies.