Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Lexington County; No Human or Pet Exposures
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near M Avenue and Naples Avenue in Cayce, SC has tested positive for rabies. There are no known human or pet exposures reported at this time.
The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on January 15th and was confirmed to have rabies on January 19th.
"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space," said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. "If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and 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 direct contact (from a bite or through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth) with saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from an 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 the Columbia office at (803) 896-0620 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 and select option 2.
It is important to keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccination which is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease. This raccoon is the first animal in Lexington County to test positive for rabies in 2021. There have been two cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, 14 of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Lexington County.