Rabid Skunk Confirmed in Anderson County and Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Lancaster County; Four Pets Exposed
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that:
- a skunk found near Spring Meadow Court and Fire Tower Road in Piedmont, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. No people are known to have been exposed at this time. One dog was exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.
- a raccoon found near Fairhaven Place and Robert H Kirk Road in Lancaster, S.C. has also tested positive for rabies. No people are known to have been exposed at this time. Three dogs were exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.
The Anderson County skunk and the Lancaster County racoon were both submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on January 3, 2023, and both were confirmed to have rabies on January 4, 2023.
“Keeping your pets up to date on their rabies vaccination is the easiest way to protect you and your family from this deadly virus,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to people or pets. Therefore, give wild and stray animals plenty of space. In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats, but pets are just as susceptible to the virus. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control officer, or a wildlife rehabilitator. 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 you believe that you, someone you know, or your pets have come in contact with this Anderson County skunk, Lancaster County raccoon, or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Anderson office at (864) 260-5585 or Lancaster office at (803) 285-7461 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2).
In 2023, this skunk is the first animal in Anderson County to test positive for rabies, and this raccoon is the first animal in Lancaster County to test positive for rabies. There have been 2 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. Of the 83 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina in 2022, eight were in Anderson County, and none were in Lancaster 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.