Rabid Fox Confirmed in Lancaster County; Two Pets Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 13, 2021
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a fox found near Pageland Highway and Anna Howard Drive in Lancaster, SC has tested positive for rabies. No people are known to have been exposed at this time. Two dogs were exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.
The fox was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on May 11, 2021, and was confirmed to have rabies on May 12, 2021.
"Keeping your pets up to date on their rabies vaccination is the easiest way to protect you and your family from this deadly virus," said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. "Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to humans or pets. Give wild and stray animals plenty of space. In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats, but pets are just as susceptible to the virus. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control officer, or a wildlife rehabilitator. 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 direct contact (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth) with saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from an infected animal."
If your pet is found with wounds of unknown origin, please consider that your pet may have been exposed to rabies and contact DHEC's Environmental Affairs Lancaster office at (803) 285-7461 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).
This fox is the second animal in Lancaster County to test positive for rabies in 2021. There have been 26 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, three of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Lancaster County.