Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Beaufort County; Two Pet Exposures
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 29, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon located near Lagoon Road and Egret Street in Hilton Head, SC tested positive for rabies. Two pets were 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 September 25th and was confirmed to have rabies on September 28th.
“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 David Vaughan, Director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to humans or pets. The key to prevention is to stay away from wild and stray animals and keep your pets current on their rabies vaccinations! 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 or 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 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 DHEC's Environmental Affairs Beaufort office at (843) 846-1030 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.
This raccoon is the seventh animal in Beaufort County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 129 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, four of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Beaufort County.
Contact information for local Environmental Affairs Offices is available at www.scdhec.gov/EAoffices. For more information on rabies, visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies or www.cdc.gov/rabies.