COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a skunk found near Bartley Road (State Hwy S-19-63) between Strom Lane and Highway 25 in Edgefield, SC 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 skunk was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on April 21, 2021, and was confirmed to have rabies on April 22, 2021.
“Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite or scratch which allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal. However, infected saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals their space. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control operator, or a wildlife rehabilitator. Please report all animal bites, scratches, and exposures to potentially rabid animals to DHEC.”
If your pet appears to have been bitten or scratched by this skunk, or is found with wounds of unknown origin, please consider that your pet may have been exposed to rabies and contact DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Aiken office at (803) 642-1637 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).
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 Edgefield County to test positive for rabies in 2021. There have been 23 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, one of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Edgefield County.
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.