Rabid Skunk Confirmed in Abbeville; Two Pets Exposed
For Immediate Release:
February 3, 2021
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a skunk found near Oakwood Farms Court and County Road S-1-3 in Greenwood, SC has tested positive for rabies. There are no known human exposures reported at this time. Two dogs were exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.
The skunk was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on February 1st and was confirmed to have rabies on February 2nd.
"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 (such as 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 DHEC's Environmental Affairs Greenwood office at (864) 227-5915 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 which is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease. This skunk is the first animal in Abbeville County to test positive for rabies in 2021. There have been six cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, four of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Abbeville County.
Contact information for local Environmental Affairs Offices is available at www.scdhec.gov/EAoffices. For more information on rabies visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies or www.cdc.gov/rabies.