Rabid Skunk Confirmed in Laurens County; 4 Pets Exposed
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a skunk found near Bramlett Road and Owens Drive in Laurens, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. No people are known to have been exposed at this time. One puppy and three pigs were exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.
The skunk was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on March 6, 2023, and was confirmed to have rabies on March 7, 2023.
South Carolina law requires all dogs, cats, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies and revaccinated at a frequency to provide continuous protection of the pet from rabies using a vaccine approved by the Department and licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Livestock are susceptible to rabies and all livestock with USDA approved rabies vaccinations should be vaccinated. Cattle and horses, however, are the most frequently reported infected livestock species. Species for which licensed vaccines are not available (goat and swine), that have frequent contact with humans or are considered valuable, should also be vaccinated.
“Keeping your pets and livestock current on their rabies vaccination is a responsibility that comes with owning an animal. It is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect yourself, your family, your pets, and your livestock from this fatal disease. That is an investment worth making to provide yourself some peace of mind.” said Terri McCollister, DHEC’s Rabies Program Team Leader.
If you believe that you, your family members, or your pets have come in contact with this skunk 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 skunk is the first animal in Laurens County to test positive for rabies in 2023. There have been 12 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2022, four of the 83 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Laurens County.
Contact information for local your local Environmental Affairs office is available at scdhec.gov/EAoffices. For more information about rabies, visit scdhec.gov/rabies or cdc.gov/rabies.