DHEC: Rabid puppy associated with Florence County, people and pets exposed

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 4:18 PM EDT
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FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - State health officials announced Friday that a puppy brought to Florence County earlier this month tested positive for rabies.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says the puppy was found in Edgefield County but was brought to Florence County on July 17.

It was previously in Georgia a few days prior.

At least 25 people have been exposed so far and have been referred to hospitals, according to DHEC.

The agency also said six dogs were exposed and have been quarantined as required by state law.

DHEC tested the puppy on July 19, turning up a positive test for rabies the next day. It’s the 46th rabid animal case so far this year, officials said.

“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, DHEC’s Rabies Program Team Leader. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to humans or pets. So, give wild and stray animals plenty of space. In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats, but pets are just as susceptible to the virus.”

McCollister also says people should avoid touching animals in need to avoid the risk of rabies and to contact local animal control or wildlife officers to help.

Anyone in Florence County who finds wounds on their pet and doesn’t know where they came from is urged to call DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Office at (843) 661-4825 or at (888) 847-0902 after normal business hours.

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