By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

South Carolina health authorities reported Friday that a puppy found in Edgefield County, near Lanier Road in Johnston, SC has tested positive for rabies.

Image by Ilona Krijgsman from Pixabay

At least 25 people were exposed and have been referred to their healthcare providers. Six dogs were exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.

The puppy resided in Augusta, GA from July 14, 2021, through July 17, 2021. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is collaborating with the Georgia Department of Public Health to identify additional exposures. It was brought to Florence County, SC on July 17, 2021.

The puppy was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on July 19, 2021, and was confirmed to have rabies on July 20, 2021. This puppy is the first animal in Edgefield County to test positive for rabies in 2021.

“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 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. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control officer, or a wildlife rehabilitator. If you believe that you or someone you know has had contact with or been potentially exposed to this or another suspect animal, please reach out to your local Environmental Affairs office. An exposure is defined as direct contact (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth) with saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from an infected animal.”

There have been 46 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year.