Rabid raccoon confirmed in Sumter County, 1 pet and 1 person potentially exposed

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A racoon found near Riggs and Plowden Mill roads in Sumter tested positive for rabies, according to a news release from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. One person was potentially exposed and has been referred to their health care provider, and one dog was exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.

The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on June 14 and was confirmed to have rabies on June 17. If you or someone you know or your pets have come in contact with this raccoon or another animal that potentially has rabies,  call DHEC's Public Health Conway office at (843) 915-8801 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).

Earlier this week, DHEC reported a raccoon found near White Oak Drive and Comstock Lane in Manning also tested positive for rabies.  SCDHEC reported no people have been exposed at this time in Manning, but four dogs were exposed and are being quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act. The raccoon was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on June 13 and was confirmed to have rabies on June 14.

Please report all animal bites, scratches and exposures to potentially rabid animals to DHEC.

“It is very important for you to seek medical attention if you have been exposed to a wild, stray or domestic animal,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program director, in the release.  “The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and can be transmitted through a bite, scratch, broken skin and the mucous membranes of your eyes, nose or mouth. Immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water.”

Contact your local Public Health office for further guidance.

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 raccoon is the second animal in Sumter County to test positive for rabies in 2024. There have been 36 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2023, none of the 78 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina was in Sumter County.

Contact information for local Public Health offices is available at scdhec.gov/RabiesContacts. For more information on rabies visit scdhec.gov/rabies or cdc.gov/rabies.