Rabid coyote confirmed in Florence; no known human exposures

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FLORENC, SC (WBTW) – DHEC has confirmed a coyote found near Trotter Road and Oldfield Circle in Florence has tested positive for rabies.

There are no known human exposures reported at this time; however, a dog was exposed on April 19.

The coyote was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on April 21 and was confirmed to have rabies on April 22.

This coyote is the first animal in Florence County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 31 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, one of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina was in Florence County.

Please contact DHEC if you know of any possible human or animal exposure. Be sure to immediately wash any part of your body that may have come into contact with saliva or neural tissue with plenty of soap and water, and seek medical attention. Exposure is defined as a bite, scratch, or contact of saliva or body fluids from an infected animal. 

“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space,” said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC’s Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. “If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it, since the possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere and anytime. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator.”

If you believe that you, family members, or pets have come into contact with this coyote or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Florence office at (843) 661-4825 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday). To report a bite or exposure on holidays or times outside of normal business hours, please call the DHEC after-hours service number at (888) 847-0902.

Contact information for local Bureau of Environmental Health Services offices is available at www.scdhec.gov/EAoffices. For more information on rabies visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies or www.cdc.gov/rabies.

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