Rabid Skunk Confirmed in Lancaster County; Two Pet Exposures
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 27, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a skunk located near Plyler Mill Road and Camp Creek Road in Lancaster, SC tested positive for rabies. Two pets 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 September 24th and was confirmed to have rabies on September 25th.
“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 David Vaughan, Director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to humans or pets. The key to prevention is to stay away from wild and stray animals and keep your pets current on their rabies vaccinations! 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 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 a bite, a scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected or possibly 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 Lancaster office at (803) 285-7461 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 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.
This skunk is the third animal in Lancaster County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 128 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, one of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina was 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.