LAURENS Co. (WSPA) – The state Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed a skunk found near Bramlett Road and Owens Drive in Laurens has tested positive for rabies.

No people are known to have been exposed to the skunk, but four pets – one puppy and three pigs – are confirmed to have been exposed to the skunk.

All four animals will be quarantined as required by the state’s Rabies Control Act.

South Carolina law requires all dogs, cats, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies and revaccinated at a frequency to provide continuous protection of the pet from rabies.

Livestock are susceptible to rabies and all livestock with USDA approved rabies vaccinations should be vaccinated. Cattle and horses, however, are the most frequently reported infected livestock species. Species for which licensed vaccines are not available (goat and swine), that have frequent contact with humans or are considered valuable, should also be vaccinated. 

“Keeping your pets and livestock current on their rabies vaccination is a responsibility that comes with owning an animal. It is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect yourself, your family, your pets, and your livestock from this fatal disease. That is an investment worth making to provide yourself some peace of mind.” said Terri McCollister, DHEC’s Rabies Program Team Leader. 

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. The skunk is the first animal in Laurens County to test positive for rabies in 2023. There have been 12 cases of rabid animals statewide this year.

Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2022, four of the 83 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Laurens County.