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Rabid Raccoons Confirmed in York and Lexington Counties; One Pet Exposed

Date

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sept. 21, 2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that:

  • a raccoon found in York County near Love Street and McConnells Highway E in McConnells, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. No people or pets are known to have been exposed at this time. This raccoon was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on September 17, 2022, and was confirmed to have rabies on September19, 2022. 
  • a second raccoon, found in Lexington County near Hill Springs Court and Hill Springs Drive in Lexington, S.C., has also tested positive for rabies. One dog was exposed and will be quarantined as required in the rabies control act. This raccoon was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on September 19, 2022, and was confirmed to have rabies on September 20, 2022. 

“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “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 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. An exposure is defined as direct contact (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth) with saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from an infected animal. If your pet is found with wounds of unknown origin, please consider that your pet may have been exposed to rabies.

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. The York County raccoon is the fourth animal in the county to test positive for rabies in 2022. The raccoon from Lexington County is the fifth animal in the county to test positive for rabies in 2022. There have been 54 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. Of the 101 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina in 2021, one was in York County, and seven were in Lexington 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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