COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a raccoon found near Crape Myrtle Road and Greenwood Road in Laurens, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. No people are known to have been exposed at this time. One dog was 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 November 16, 2022, and was confirmed to have rabies on November 17, 2022.
Please report all animal bites, scratches, and exposures to potentially rabid animals to DHEC.
“It is very important for you to seek medical attention if you have been exposed to a wild, stray, or domestic animal. The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and can be transmitted through a bite, scratch, broken skin, and the mucous membranes of your eyes, nose, or mouth. Immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “Contact your local Environmental Affairs office for further guidance.”
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 Greenwood office at (864) 227-5915 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 fourth animal in Laurens County to test positive for rabies in 2022. There have been 77 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2021, one of the 101 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina was in Laurens County.