Rabid Bobcat Confirmed in Kershaw County; Two Pets Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 16, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a bobcat found near Sumter Hwy (Highway 521) and Cantey Lane in Rembert, SC has tested positive for rabies. There are no known human exposures reported at this time. Two dogs were exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.
The bobcat was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on November 12th and was confirmed to have rabies on November 13th.
"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space," said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. "If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it since the possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere and anytime. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator." The possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere, anytime. 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 a bite, a scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected or possibly infected animal.
If your pet is found with wounds of unknown origin, please consider that your pet could have been exposed to rabies and contact the Sumter office at (803) 778-6548 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday). To report a bite or exposure on holidays or times outside of normal business hours, please call the DHEC after-hours service number at (888) 847-0902
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 bobcat is the eleventh animal in Kershaw County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 156 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, one of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina was in Kershaw County.