COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near Featherwood Drive and Brandy Lane in Pickens, SC has tested positive for rabies. No people are known to have been exposed at this time. 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 March 15, 2023, and was confirmed to have rabies on March 16, 2023.
“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 Upstate Greenville-Spartanburg 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 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 Pickens County to test positive for rabies in 2023. There have been 14 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2022, eight of the 83 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.