DHEC: Puppy found in Edgefield County tests positive for rabies

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says a puppy found in Edgefield County tested positive for rabies. Authorities say the puppy resided in Augusta, Georgia from July 14-17, when it was brought to Florence County. Officials say the puppy was tested for rabies on July 19, and the results came back positive the next day.

According to DHEC, at least six dogs and 25 humans were exposed to the animal. Officials say the dogs will be quarantined and the people exposed have been referred for medical care.

“Keeping your pets up to date on their rabies vaccination is the easiest way to protect you and your family from this deadly virus,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to humans or pets. So, give wild and stray animals plenty of space. In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats, but pets are just as susceptible to the virus. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control officer, or a 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 you believe your pet has been exposed to a rabid animal, DHEC urges you to contact DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Aiken office at 803-642-1637 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday). To report a bite or exposure after these hours, call the DHEC after-hours service number at 888-847-0902.

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