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A raccoon found in Laurens County tested positive for rabies and officials say one person was exposed and referred to their health care provider for treatment, a release from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control said.

The raccoon, found near Highway 56 North in Clinton between Countryside Circle and Springdale Drive, was submitted for testing Tuesday at DHEC’s laboratory and was confirmed to have rabies on Wednesday.

“It is very important for you to seek medical attention if you have been exposed to a wild, stray, or domestic animal,” Terri McCollister, DHEC’s Rabies Program Team Leader, said in the release. “The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and can be transmitted through a bite, scratch, broken skin, and the mucous membranes of your eyes, nose, or mouth.”

If a person is exposed, they should wash the affected area with soap and water as well as contact a nearby DHEC office for further guidance.

If a pet appears to have been bitten or scratched by this raccoon, or is found with unexplained wounds, contact DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Greenwood office at 864-227-5915 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Pets should be kept up to date on their rabies vaccinations. This raccoon is the first animal in Laurens County to test positive for rabies in 2021. There have been 21 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. In 2020, four of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in the state were in the county.