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Rabid Calf Confirmed in Pickens; Three People and Eight Livestock Potentially Exposed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 24, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a calf found near Silver Creek Road and Lay Bridge Road in Central, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. Three people were potentially exposed and have been referred to their healthcare providers. Eight cows were also potentially exposed, and the public health veterinarian has been consulted.

The calf was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on November 22, 2021, and was confirmed to have rabies on November 23, 2021.

South Carolina law requires all dogs, cats, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies and revaccinated at a frequency to provide continuous protection of the pet from rabies using a vaccine approved by the department and licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Livestock are susceptible to rabies and all livestock with USDA approved rabies vaccinations should be vaccinated. Cattle and horses, however, are the most frequently reported infected livestock species. Species for which licensed vaccines are not available (goat and swine), that have frequent contact with humans or are considered valuable, should also be vaccinated. 

“Keeping your pets and livestock current on their rabies vaccination is a responsibility that comes with owning an animal. It is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect yourself, your family, your pets, and your livestock from this fatal disease. Vaccination is an investment worth making to provide yourself some peace of mind,” said Terri McCollister, DHEC’s Rabies Program Team Leader.

If you believe that you, your family members, your pets, or your livestock have come in contact with this calf or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Greenville office at (864) 372-3273 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).

It is important to keep pets and livestock up to date on their rabies vaccination as this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease. This calf is the eigth animal in Pickens County to test positive for rabies in 2021. There have been 91 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, two of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Pickens 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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