FLORENCE, S.C. — A coyote near Florence has tested positive for rabies.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed that a coyote found near Trotter Road and Oldfield Circle 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 the department'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.
Contact the department 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, call the department's Environmental Affairs Florence office at 843-661-4825 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
To report a bite or exposure on holidays or times outside of normal business hours, call the department's after-hours service number at 888-847-0902.
It's also 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.