DHEC: Skunk in Newberry County, raccoon in Richland County each test positive for rabies

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has confirmed that a skunk found in Newberry County, and a raccoon found in Richland County both tested positive for rabies.

Officials say both animals were tested in a DHEC lab on September 28 and returned positive test results the following day.

DHEC says the skunk was found near Player Street and Buzhardt Street in Newberry, while the raccoon was found near Kennedy Street and South Holly Street in Columbia. Both animals were exposed to three other animals which will be quarantined per the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.

DHEC advises that if you find your pet has wounds of unknown origin, contact DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Columbia office at (803) 896-0620 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday) or (888) 847-0902 after hours.

“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space,” said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC’s Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. “If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator. The possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere, anytime. If you believe that you or someone you know has had contact with or been potentially exposed to this or another suspect animal, please contact your local Environmental Affairs office. An exposure is defined as a bite, a scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected or possibly infected animal.”

Authorities say 131 animals have tested positive for rabies in South Carolina this year and emphasize the importance of keeping your pets up to date on their rabies vaccine. DHEC reports that South Carolina has had an average of approximately 130 rabies cases per year since 2011.

For more information about rabies, visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies.

Categories: Local News, Newberry, Richland