Rabid Skunk Confirmed in Pickens County; One Pet Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE REVIEW:
Sept. 22, 2023
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a skunk found near Whitmire Hill and Gilstrap roads in Liberty, 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.
The skunk was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on September 20, 2023, and was confirmed to have rabies on September 21, 2023. If you believe you, someone you know or your pets have come in contact with this skunk or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Public Health Upstate Greenville-Spartanburg office at (864) 372-3270 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2).
Please report all animal bites, scratches and exposures to potentially rabid animals to DHEC.
“It is very important for you to seek medical attention if you have been exposed to a wild, stray, or domestic animal," said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program director. "The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and can be transmitted through a bite, scratch, broken skin, and the mucous membranes of your eyes, nose, or mouth. Immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water. Contact your local Public Health office for further guidance.”
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 fourth animal in Pickens County to test positive for rabies in 2023. There have been 64 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2022, eight of the 83 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Pickens County.