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Skunk in Newberry, raccoon in Columbia confirmed with rabies

There have been 131 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year.
Credit: iStock by Getty Images

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed a skunk in Newberry and a raccoon in Columbia have tested positive for rabies. 

The skunk was located near Player Street and Buzhardt Street in Newberry, S.C., according to DHEC. Three pets were exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.

The raccoon was located near Kennedy Street and South Holly Street in Columbia, according to DHEC. Three pets 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 September 28 and was confirmed to have rabies on September 29. The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on September 28 and was confirmed to have rabies on September 29.

“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. The possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere, anytime. If you believe that you or someone you know has had contact with or been potentially exposed to this or another suspect animal, please contact your local Environmental Affairs 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, please consider that your pet could have been exposed to rabies and contact DHEC's Environmental 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 on holidays or times outside of normal business hours, please call the DHEC after-hours service number at (888) 847-0902.

According to DHEC, keeping your pets up to date on their rabies vaccination is one of the easiest ways to protect against rabies.

This skunk is the eighth animal in  Newberry County to test positive for rabies in 2020. In 2019, five of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in  Newberry County.

This raccoon is the seventh animal in  Richland County to test positive for rabies in 2020. In 2019, seven of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in  Richland County.

There have been 131 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year.

Contact information for local Environmental Affairs Offices is available at www.scdhec.gov/EAoffices. For more information on rabies visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies or www.cdc.gov/rabies.

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