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Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Richland County; Two Pets Exposed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug.26 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near Parliament Lake Drive and Windsor Lake Blvd. in Columbia, S.C. has tested positive for rabies. Two dogs were 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 24, 2021, and was confirmed to have rabies on August 25, 2021.

“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 Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to humans or pets. So, give wild and stray animals plenty of space. 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, wildlife control officer, or a wildlife rehabilitator. An exposure is defined as direct contact (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth) with saliva or neural tissue from an infected animal.”

If you believe that you, family members, or your 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.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2).

This raccoon is the seventh  animal in Richland County to test positive for rabies in 2021. There have been 57 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, eight of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Richland 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.  

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