Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Newberry; Eleven Stray Cats Potentially Exposed
For Immediate Release:
February 3, 2021
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near Houston Road by Hawleek Creek in Prosperity, SC has tested positive for rabies. There are no known human exposures reported at this time. Eleven stray cats were potentially exposed and out of an abundance of caution will be euthanized.
The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on February 1st and was confirmed to have rabies on February 2nd.
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 Columbia office at (803) 896-0620 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday) or the DHEC after-hours service number at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2).
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 Newberry County to test positive for rabies in 2021. There have been five cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, 13 of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Newberry County.