Rabid Skunk Confirmed in Newberry County; One Pet Exposure
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 12, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a skunk found near Bethel Church Road and Lake Road in Prosperity, SC has tested positive for rabies. One pet dog was 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 November 9th and was confirmed to have rabies on November 10th.
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 of a possibly infected animal, immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water," said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. "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). 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.
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 skunk is the tenth animal in Newberry County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 154 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, five of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Newberry County.