Beaufort County Raccoon Potentially Exposes One Person to Rabies
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Oct 26, 2018
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today that one person has been referred to their health care provider after being potentially exposed to rabies by a raccoon that tested positive for the disease.
The potential exposure occurred Oct. 23 when the victim was bitten by the raccoon near the Old Point area of downtown Beaufort. The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing Oct. 24 and was confirmed to have rabies Oct. 25.
"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. However, saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies," said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention and Enforcement Division. "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."
It is also important to keep pets up to date on rabies vaccination, as this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stay protected from the fatal disease.
If you have reason to believe that you, your family members or your pets have come into contact with this raccoon or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Beaufort office at 843-846-1030 during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30-5 p.m.). Be sure to immediately wash any part of your body 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 of normal business hours, please call the DHEC after-hours service at 888-847-0902.
This raccoon is the eighth animal in Beaufort County to test positive for rabies in 2018. There have been 84 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year. Since 2013, South Carolina has averaged approximately 110 positive cases a year. In 2017, 5 of the 63 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Beaufort County.