Rabid Skunks Confirmed in Abbeville and Anderson Counties; Four Pets Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 21, 2022
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a skunk found near Central Shiloh Road and Robinson Road in Abbeville, SC has tested positive for rabies. No people are known to have been exposed at this time. Two horses and one cow were exposed and will be quarantined as recommended by the Department.
A second skunk found near Indian Trail Road and SC-24 in Townville, SC has also 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.
Both skunks were submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on December 19, 2022, and were confirmed to have rabies on December 20, 2022.
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). Livestock are susceptible to rabies and all livestock with USDA approved rabies vaccinations should be vaccinated. Cattle and horses, however, are the most frequently reported infected livestock species. 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, your pets, and your 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, your family members, or your pets have come in contact with the skunk from Abbeville County, the skunk from Anderson County, or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Anderson office at (864) 260-5585 or Greenwood office at (864) 227-5915 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. The Abbeville County skunk is the first animal in the county to test positive for rabies in 2022. The skunk from Anderson County was the eighth animal in that county to test positive for rabies in 2022. There have been 83 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2021, of the 101 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina, three were in Abbeville County and five were in Anderson 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.