Rabid Coyote Confirmed in Lexington County; Two People Exposed
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a coyote found near 12th Street and Walter Price Road in Cayce, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. Two people were exposed and have been referred to their healthcare providers.
The coyote was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on June 5, 2023, and was confirmed to have rabies on June 6, 2023. If you believe that you, someone you know, or your pets have come in contact with this coyote or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Public Health Columbia office at (803) 896-0620 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).
“Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite or scratch which allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal. However, infected saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “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, wildlife control operator, or a wildlife rehabilitator. Please report all animal bites, scratches, and exposures to potentially rabid animals to DHEC.”
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. This coyote is the third animal in Lexington County to test positive for rabies in 2023. There have been 25 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2022, eight of the 83 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Lexington County.