SHELDON, S.C. (WSAV) – A raccoon found over the weekend in Beaufort County has tested positive for rabies.
The animal was located Sunday near Huspa Plantation Road and Paige Point Road in Sheldon, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
No known human exposure has been reported at this time but one dog was exposed.
DHEC asks anyone who knows of possible human or animal exposure — including a bite, scratch, or contact with the raccoon’s saliva or body fluids — to call DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Beaufort office at 843-846-1030 during normal business hours or after hours at 888-847-0902.
If you or a pet has been exposed, DHEC urges you to immediately wash the area that may have come in contact with the animal’s saliva or body fluids with “plenty” of soap and water and then seek medical attention.
“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 as the possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere and anytime. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator.”
This raccoon is the third animal in Beaufort County to test positive for rabies in 2020, according to DHEC. There have been 45 cases of rabid animals statewide this year.
The department reported that since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, four of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Beaufort County.