CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD)- One person was exposed to a rabid raccoon in Charleston County last week, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
The rabid raccoon was found near Wade Hampton Drive and Robert E Lee Boulevard in Charleston. The individual who was believed to have been exposed was referred to their healthcare provider for treatment.
DHEC officials said the raccoon was submitted to the laboratory for testing on Sept. 2 and was confirmed to have rabies on Tuesday.
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, DHEC’s Rabies Program team leader. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to people or pets. Therefore, give wild and stray animals plenty of space.”
According to the agency, this is the fifth animal to test positive for rabies in Charleston County this year. There have been 56 cases of rabid animals statewide this year.
A second rabid raccoon was found in Saluda County and confirmed positive on Tuesday. One pet was exposed and will be quarantined as required by the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.
If you see an animal in need, DHEC says you should avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control operator or wildlife rehabilitator.
If you believe 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 Public Health Charleston office at (843) 953-4713 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2).
Health officials say you should report all animal bites, scratches and exposures to potentially rabid animals to DHEC.