Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Charleston County; No Human Exposures
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 1, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon located near Wappoo Road and Alcott Lane in Charleston, S.C. tested positive for rabies. It is the 28th animal in the county to test positive for rabies this year, nearly double the number testing positive in 2019 and accounting for more than 20 percent of the average cases statewide.
No human exposures were reported. Exposure is defined as a bite, a scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected or possibly infected animal.
DHEC officials offer a bit of advice to those who are afraid of their pets encountering one of these animals.
“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,” said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. “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.”
Vaughan advises residents to contact someone trained in handling animals, such as the local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator if they believe that they or someone they know has been exposed.
If a pet is found with wounds of unknown origin, assume that the pet could have been exposed to rabies and contact DHEC's Environmental Affairs Charleston Office at (843) 953-0150 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.