Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Charleston; No Exposures
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 3, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near Riverland Drive and James Island Parkway in Charleston, SC has tested positive for rabies. There are no exposures reported at this time.
The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on November 30th and was confirmed to have rabies on December 1st.
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. "Be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC."
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 Charleston office at (843) 953-0150 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:00 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 44th animal in Charleston County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 161 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, 19 of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina was in Charleston 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.