Rabid Calf Confirmed in Oconee County and Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Aiken County; Three People, Two Pets, and 43 Livestock Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 30, 2022
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a calf found near Red Feather Road and Pine Grove Road in Seneca, SC has tested positive for rabies. Three people were exposed and have been referred to their healthcare providers. 22 cows and 21 calves in the same pasture were potentially exposed. The State Veterinarian has been consulted. The calf was submitted to the laboratory at the University of Georgia for testing on November 26, 2022, and was confirmed to have rabies on November 28, 2022.
A raccoon found near Farmfield Road and New Bridge Road in Aiken, SC was also confirmed to be positive for rabies. No people are known to be exposed at this time. Two dogs were potentially exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act. The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on November 28, 2022, and was confirmed to have rabies on November 29, 2022.
South Carolina law requires all dogs, cats, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies and revaccinated at a frequency to provide continuous protection of the pet from rabies using a vaccine approved by the department and licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Livestock are susceptible to rabies and all livestock with USDA approved rabies vaccinations should be vaccinated. Cattle and horses, however, are the most frequently reported infected livestock species. Species for which licensed vaccines are not available (goat and swine), that have frequent contact with humans, or are considered valuable, should also be vaccinated.
“Keeping your pets and livestock current on their rabies vaccination is a responsibility that comes with owning an animal. It is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect yourself, your family, your pets, and your livestock from this fatal disease. That is an investment worth making to provide yourself some peace of mind.” said Terri McCollister, DHEC’s Rabies Program Team Leader.
If you believe that you, your family members, or your pets have come in contact with this Oconee County calf, Aiken County raccoon, or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Anderson office at (864) 260-5585 or Aiken Office at (803) 642-1637 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2).
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. The Oconee County calf and the Aiken county raccoon are both the fifth animals in their counties to test positive for rabies in 2022. There have been 79 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2021, of the 101 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina, four were in Oconee County and three were in Aiken County.