UPDATE Regarding Rabid Puppy Associated with Multiple Human and Six Pet Exposures; Littermate Unaccounted For
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 28, 2021
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is requesting anyone who believes they may have come into contact with the puppy referenced in the July 23, 2021, news release to contact DHEC’s Aiken or Florence office, if they are not already in communication with the agency.
DHEC has learned the puppy was approximately seven weeks old and weighed about five pounds. It was a small, tan-and-white pit bull puppy. Anyone who came into contact with the puppy’s saliva may have been exposed to rabies and should seek medical attention. Animals can shed the rabies virus for up to two weeks before they show symptoms or signs of rabies.
“We are deeply concerned about all persons involved, as rabies is fatal if left untreated after exposure,” said Dr. Gil Potter, Midlands Region Medical Director.
In the initial news release, DHEC reported the puppy was born in Edgefield County, near Lanier Road in Johnston, S.C. It and a littermate were taken to Augusta, Ga., from July 14-July 17, 2021. Staff have learned that both puppies were brought to a gathering in Clearwater, S.C., around the same time. The littermate is unaccounted for and was allegedly given away during the gathering. The rabid puppy was later taken to a birthday party in Florence, S.C.
The agency is attempting to identify the littermate to verify its health status and prevent the potential spread of the rabies virus.
DHEC is having difficulty obtaining contact information from people involved with the gathering in Clearwater, S.C. Anyone who attended the Clearwater gathering or who may have had or is in contact with the littermate puppy should contact their health care provider and DHEC's Environmental Affairs Aiken office at (803) 642-1637 or Florence office at (843) 661-4825 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).