Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Kershaw County; One Potential Human and Two Pet Exposures
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near Shivers Green Road and Springvale Road in Ridgeway, SC has tested positive for rabies. One person was potentially exposed to saliva from open wounds on their hands and has been referred to their health care provider. Two dogs 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 October 21 and was confirmed to have rabies on October 22.
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 Sumter office at (803) 778-6548 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 tenth animal in Kershaw County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 148 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, one of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina was in Kershaw County.