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Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Newberry County; One Pet Exposure

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 19, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon located near Nance Street (Highway 395) and Glenn Street Extension in Newberry, SC has tested positive for rabies. One pet was exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.

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

“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. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator. The possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere, anytime. 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 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 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. This raccoon is the sixth animal in Newberry County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 96 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, five of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Newberry 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.