BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed that a raccoon found near Old Mill Crossing and Stepping Stone Way in Bluffton, tested positive for rabies.

The raccoon was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on Friday and was confirmed to have rabies on Saturday.

Five people were exposed and have been referred to their healthcare providers.

In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats, but pets are just as vulnerable to the virus.

“Keeping your pets up to date on their rabies vaccination is the easiest way to protect you and your family from this deadly virus,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program director. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to people or pets. Therefore, give wild and stray animals plenty of space.”

If you believe you, someone you know or your pets have come in contact with this raccoon or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC’s Public Health Beaufort office at (843) 525-7603.