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Two Rabid Raccoons Confirmed in Charleston County; Two Pet Exposures


COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that two raccoons have tested positive for rabies. One was found near Siri Court and Charlyn Drive, and the other was found near Parkshore Center on Frontage Road and Poston Road off Sam Rittenberg Boulevard, in Charleston, SC. There are no known human exposures reported at this time. Two dogs were exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.

The raccoons were submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on October 19th and October 20th, respectively. Both were confirmed to have rabies the day after submission.

"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 since the possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere and anytime. An exposure is defined as a bite, a scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected or possibly infected animal. 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.”

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.-5:00 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 which is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease. These raccoons are the 39th and 40th animals in Charleston County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 147 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.