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DPH: Rabid raccoons confirmed in Calhoun and Lexington counties

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– The South Carolina Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed that two raccoons from two different counties tested positive for rabies.

A raccoon found near Springwater and Viceroy Lanes in Calhoun County has been diagnosed with rabies.

Two dogs had contact with the raccoon and are being quarantined under the South Carolina State Rabies Control Act.

A second raccoon confirmed to have rabies was found near Stonewood Drive and Wilton Road in West Columbia.

According to DPH, seven people came into contact with the raccoon and were referred to their doctors.

Both raccoons were delivered to the DPH laboratory on Tuesday, July 2nd and rabies was confirmed on Wednesday, July 3rd.

“Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite or scratch that introduces saliva from an infected animal into the body of a human or other animal. However, infected saliva or nerve tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose or mouth can also potentially transmit rabies,” said Terri McCollister, director of the rabies program.

Additionally, the DPH states that raccoons are the most commonly tested animals for rabies in South Carolina and that they play a significant role in the transmission of rabies in the state.

In 2024, the Calhoun County raccoon will be the first animal to be diagnosed with rabies in that county, and the Lexington County raccoon will be the first animal to be diagnosed with rabies.

This year there have been 40 cases of rabid animals nationwide.

If you believe you, someone you know, or your pets have come into contact with the Calhoun County or Lexington County raccoon or another possibly rabid animal, call the DPH Lowcountry, Orangeburg office at (803) 533-5480 or the Columbia office at (803) 896-0620 during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday) or after hours and holidays at (888) 847-0902 (select option 2).