FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sept. 16, 2022
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near Smyrna Road and Barfield Road in Elgin, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. No people or pets are known to have been exposed at this time.
The raccoon was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on September 14, 2022, and was confirmed to have rabies on September 15, 2022.
Please report all animal bites, scratches, and exposures to potentially rabid animals to DHEC. “It is very important for you to seek medical attention if you have been exposed to a wild, stray, or domestic animal. The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and can be transmitted through a bite, scratch, broken skin, and the mucous membranes of your eyes, nose, or mouth. Immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “Contact your local Environmental Affairs office for further guidance.”
If you believe that you, someone you know, or your pets have come in contact with this raccoon or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Sumter office at (803) 778-6548 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 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 second animal in Kershaw County to test positive for rabies in 2022. There have been 52 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2021, six of the 101 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Kershaw 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.