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Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Richland County, No Known Human Exposure

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 18, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed a raccoon found near Captain Lowman Road and Johnson Marina Road in Chapin, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. There are no known human exposures reported at this time, however, two dogs were exposed on April 14.

The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on April 15 and was confirmed to have rabies on April 16.

Anyone who thinks they or a pet could have possibly been exposed to this raccoon should wash with soap and water the part of the body that may have been affected and seek medical attention. Exposure includes a bite, scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected animal.

"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. 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 you, family members, or pets have come into contact with this raccoon or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Columbia office at 803-896-0620 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's 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 raccoon is the second animal in Richland County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 30 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, 7 of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Richland County.

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