Rabid Skunk Confirmed in Pickens; One Person and One Pig Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Aug. 27, 2021
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a skunk found near Josh Nicole Drive and Ole Keowee Church Road in Six Mile, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. One person was exposed and has been referred to their healthcare provider. One pig was also exposed, and the public health veterinarian has been consulted.
The skunk was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on August 25, 2021, and was confirmed to have rabies on August 26, 2021.
South Carolina law requires all dogs, cats, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies and revaccinated at a frequency to provide continuous protection of the pet from rabies using a vaccine approved by the department and licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Similarly, species of livestock are susceptible to rabies; cattle and horses are the most frequently reported infected livestock species; therefore, all livestock with USDA approved rabies vaccinations should be vaccinated. Species for which licensed vaccines are not available (goat and swine), that have frequent contact with humans, or are considered valuable, should also be vaccinated.
“Keeping your pets and livestock current on their rabies vaccination is a responsibility that comes with owning an animal. It is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect yourself, your family, pets, and or livestock from this fatal disease. That is an investment worth making to provide yourself some peace of mind,” said Terri McCollister, DHEC’s Rabies Program Team Leader.
If you believe that you, someone you know, or your pets have come into contact with this skunk or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Greenville office at (864) 372-3273 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).
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 first animal in Pickens County to test positive for rabies in 2021. There have been 59 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, two of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Pickens County.