Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in York County; One Pet Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 10, 2021
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near Bethel School Road and Little Mountain Road in Clover, 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 February 8th and was confirmed to have rabies on February 9th.
Exposure is defined as a bite, scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected animal. "Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite or scratch which allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal. However, infected saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies," said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. "To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals their space. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control operator, or a wildlife rehabilitator."
If your pet appears to have been bitten or scratched by this raccoon, or is found with wounds of unknown origin, please consider that your pet could have been exposed to rabies and contact DHEC's Environmental Affairs Rock Hill office at (803) 909-7377 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 York County to test positive for rabies in 2021. There have been seven cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, two of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in York County.