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Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Orangeburg County; One Person Exposed

Date

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 28, 2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near Old Number Six Highway between Knowles Street and Naval Station Road in Santee, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. The raccoon was showing signs of illness and transported to a facility in Colleton County for care where it exposed one person who has been referred to their healthcare provider.  

The raccoon was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on March 24, 2022, and was confirmed to have rabies on March 25, 2022.

“Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite or scratch which allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal. However, infected saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals their space. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control operator, or a wildlife rehabilitator. Please report all animal bites, scratches, and exposures to potentially rabid animals to DHEC.” 

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 Orangeburg office at (803) 533-5490 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 first animal in Orangeburg County to test positive for rabies in 2022. There have been 12 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2021, three of the 101 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Orangeburg 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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