PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed on Monday a a skunk found near N 5th Street and Wilbur Street in Easley has tested positive for rabies.

The state said the animal was submitted to its lab for testing on August 10 and confirmed to have rabies the following day. No people are believed to have been exposed to the skunk, though a stray cat was exposed to it and was euthanized out of caution.

“Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite or scratch, which allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program team leader. “However, infected saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies. To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals their space.”

If you believe you, someone you know or your pets have come in contact with this skunk or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC’s Public Health Upstate Greenville-Spartanburg office at (864) 372-3270 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2).

It is important to keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccination, as this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease. This skunk is the third animal in Pickens County to test positive for rabies in 2023. There have been 43 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2022, eight of the 83 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Pickens County.

Contact information for local Public Health offices is available at https://scdhec.gov/RabiesContacts. For more information on rabies, visit scdhec.gov/rabies or cdc.gov/rabies.