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Rabid Skunks Confirmed in Abbeville and Laurens Counties; No Known Human Exposures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 22, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a skunk found near Suttles Road and Trail Road in Iva, SC has tested positive for rabies. There are no known human exposures reported at this time; however, two dogs were potentially exposed on May 14.

The skunk was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on May 14 and was confirmed to have rabies on May 15.

Also, DHEC confirmed that a skunk found near Boggy Branch Road and Wilkie Road in Woodruff, SC has tested positive for rabies. There are no known human exposures reported at this time; however, one dog was potentially exposed on May 18.

The skunk was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on May 19 and was confirmed to have rabies on May 20.

Please contact DHEC if you know of any possible human or animal exposure. Be sure to immediately wash any part of your body that may have come into contact with saliva or neural tissue with plenty of soap and water, and seek medical attention.

"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space," said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. "If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it as the possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere and anytime. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator."

If you believe that you, someone you know, family members, or pets have come into contact with either of these skunks or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Greenwood office at (864) 227-5915 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.

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 skunk is the second animal in Abbeville County to test positive for rabies in 2020. In 2019, three of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Abbeville County.
  • The skunk is the third animal in Laurens County to test positive for rabies in 2020. In 2019, three of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Laurens County.

There have been 45 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year.

Contact information for local DHEC 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.

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