Two Rabid Raccoons Confirmed in Charleston County; Potential Human Exposures
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 11, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed:
- a raccoon located near Ashley River Road and Sam Rittenberg Boulevard in Charleston, S.C., tested positive for rabies. One person was potentially exposed and has been referred to their healthcare provider. The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on August 7 and was confirmed to have rabies on August 8.
- a raccoon located near Palmetto Road and Palmetto Pointe Road on Edisto Island, S.C., tested positive for rabies. One person was exposed and has been referred to their healthcare provider. The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on August 7 and was confirmed to have rabies on August 10.
“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 Charleston office at (843) 953-0150 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.
These raccoons are the 21st and 22nd animals in Charleston County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 89 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, 19 of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Charleston County.