Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Aiken County; No Known Human Exposures
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 22, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near Independent Boulevard and Williston Road in Aiken, SC has tested positive for rabies. There are no known human exposures reported at this time; however, a dog was exposed on June 18.
The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on June 19 and was confirmed to have rabies on June 20.
Please contact DHEC if you know of any possible human or animal exposure.
"If you think you have been exposed to the rabies virus through a bite, scratch, or the saliva of a possibly infected animal, immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water," said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. "Then be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC."
If your pet appears to have been bitten or scratched by this raccoon, or is found with wounds of unknown origin, please consider that your pet could have been exposed to rabies and contact DHEC's Environmental Affairs Aiken office at (803) 642-1637 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 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, as this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease. This raccoon is the second animal in Aiken County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 60 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, nine of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Aiken County.