LEXINGTON, S.C. — A bobcat in Lexington has tested positive for rabies, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, and four dogs are believed to have been exposed.
Officials say a bobcat found near Crimson Oak Drive and Blue Lake Drive in Lexington tested positive for rabies. While there are no known human exposures at this time, officials say four dogs were exposed.
The bobcat was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on June 25 and was confirmed to have rabies on June 26.
The bobcat is the seventh animal in Lexington County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 64 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, 17 of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Lexington County.
“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space," said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. "If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or 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 regional DHEC Environmental Health Services office. An exposure is defined as a bite, a scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected, or possibly infected, animal.
If your pet is found with wounds of unknown origin, officials warn that your pet could have been exposed to rabies. Contact DHEC's Environmental Affairs Affairs Columbia office at (803) 896-0620 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday) to report a bite or exposure. Outside of normal business hours, please call the DHEC after-hours service number at (888) 847-0902.
Health officials say 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.