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Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Charleston County; No Exposures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 19, 2020  

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon located near East Shore Lane and South Shore Drive in Charleston, SC tested positive for rabies. No exposures have been reported at this time. 

The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on August 14 and was confirmed to have rabies on August 17.

“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.

This raccoon is the 25th animal in Charleston County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 97 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.

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.