Third rabid animal in a week discovered in river region

Rabid raccoon
Rabid raccoon(Alan Vernon / CC BY 2.0)
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 12:00 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A rabid racoon has been found in Columbia County, local health officials say.

It was found June 26 in Columbia County in the area of Columbia Road and Maple Creek Drive in Martinez.

It came on the heels of a dead rabid raccoon that was found June 21 in a yard in the Meadowbrook area of Augusta.

And across the Savannah River in South Carolina, a bat found last week near Old Nail Road in Aiken County tested positive for rabies.

Amid the cases, health officials offer these recommendations:

  • Make sure your dogs and cats are currently vaccinated against rabies.
  • Do not let your pets roam free. They are more likely to have contact with a rabid wild animal.
  • Avoid feeding your animals outside. This draws stray and wild animals to your doorstep.
  • Teach your children not to approach wild animals and animals they don’t know.

“Never handle a bat or any wild or stray animal, alive or dead, with your bare hands,” said Terri McCollister, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s rabies program team leader.

An exposure is defined as direct contact (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth) with saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from an infected animal. Be sure to immediately wash any part of your body that may have come in contact with saliva or neural tissue with plenty of soap and water and seek medical attention.

In Richmond County, report any contact of humans and domestic animals with wild animals to the Richmond County Health Department Environmental Health Section office at 706-667-4234 or Augusta Animal Services at 706-790-6836.

In Columbia County, if you have any information or suspect other animals are exhibiting abnormal signs in the area, call the Columbia County Health Department at 706-868-3330 or Columbia County Animal Services at 706-541-4077.

In Aiken County, contact DHEC’s environmental affairs Aiken office at 803-642-1637 during normal business hours. After hours and on holidays, call 888-847-0902 (select option 2).

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