Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Charleston; One Pet Exposure
For Immediate Release:
January 7, 2021
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near Ontranto Road and Jenny Lind Street in North Charleston, SC has tested positive for rabies. There are no known human exposures reported at this time. One dog was 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 January 5th and was confirmed to have rabies on January 6th.
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 (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth) of a possibly infected animal, immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water," said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. "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 first animal in Charleston County to test positive for rabies in 2021. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, 45 of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina was in Charleston County.