Rabid raccoons may have exposed person, pet to rabies in two counties

Rabid raccoons may have exposed person, pet to rabies in two counties
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Friday two potential exposures to rabies, one in Charleston County and the second in Colleton County. (Source: Pexels)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Friday two potential exposures to rabies, one in Charleston County and the second in Colleton County.

The Charleston County case involves a possible human exposure to the rabies virus. DHEC officials say a raccoon found near Ashley Hall Road and North Pinebark Lane in Charleston tested positive for rabies.

The raccoon was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on Tuesday and was confirmed to have rabies on Wednesday, according to a release.

The potential victim was referred to their healthcare provider.

The Colleton County case involves a possible pet exposure. Officials found the raccoon in this case near Palmetto Road and Old Oyster Lane on Edisto Island. This raccoon was also submitted to DHEC’s lab on Tuesday and confirmed to have rabies Wednesday.

One pet was potentially exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.

A different raccoon from the Colleton County area tested positive for rabies on Aug. 8 and was incorrectly identified as being from Charleston County in the department’s news release. Fliers, however, were distributed in the appropriate area on Aug. 13.

This is the second animal to test positive in the Colleton County area in the last 30 days.

South Carolina’s Rabies Control Act requires that a vaccinated pet exposed to a rabid animal should be quarantined for at least 45 days. The law states an unvaccinated pet should be quarantined for at least 180 days.

“Keeping your pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccination is the easiest way to protect you and your family from this deadly virus,” David Vaughan, the director of DHEC’s Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division, said.

DHEC says any mammal can transmit the disease to humans or pets.

“The key to prevention is to stay away from wild and stray animals and keep your pets current on their rabies vaccinations,” Vaughan said.

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