Beaufort County leads SC in rabies cases
An aggressive raccoon reported in downtown Beaufort this week later tested positive for rabies, county animal control officials said.
Beaufort County Animal Service responded to calls about the animal trying to attack people and animals near East Street and Hancock Street in the Point neighborhood on Tuesday, the agency said in a Facebook post Thursday. State health officials confirmed Thursday the raccoon tested positive for rabies.
In the post, county animal control encouraged people to vaccinate pets.
Beaufort County had seven of the 75 rabies cases reported in South Carolina through Sept. 30, according to state data. That’s the most of any county in the state.
It wasn’t the first report of a rabid raccoon this year.
Multiple people were sent to the doctor for possible rabies exposure after a stray cat at a Beaufort bar tested positive for the disease. The cat contracted rabies after fighting with a raccoon, county Animal Services director Tallulah Trice said at the time.
At the time, the cat was the fifth animal to test positive for rabies in the county this year, matching the total for all of 2017, state health officials said. A fox in the Bluffton area was also found to be carrying to disease in June.
Another fox tested positive for rabies after attacking a Bluffton man in July, the sixth case in the county.
Rabies is usually spread by a bite, said David Vaughan, director of rabies prevention for Department of Health and Environmental Control, in a news release this summer.
But it can also be spread by saliva coming in contact with open wounds or eyes, nose and mouth, he said. The agency recommends giving wild or stray animals space.
“If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator,” Vaughan said in the release.