FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. - One person has started post-exposure treatment after potentially being exposed to rabies near the Town of West Union by a stray cat that tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today.
The victim was attacked and potentially exposed to rabies by the stray cat on June 22, 2016. The cat was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on June 24 and was confirmed to have rabies on June 27.
"Rabies is a deadly virus that is transmitted when saliva or neural tissue of an infected animal is introduced into the body, usually through a bite, or contact with an open wound or areas such as the mouth or eyes," said Sandra Craig of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services.
"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, we recommend that people avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild."
Keeping your pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccination is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect yourself, your family and your pets from this fatal disease.
"Please play it safe and give animals their space, particularly wild and stray animals," Craig said. "Hundreds of South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year."
The stray cat from Oconee County is the third animal from that county to test positive for rabies in 2016. There have been 56 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year. There were a total of 130 confirmed cases of animal rabies in South Carolina in 2015, with 10 of them in Oconee County.
For more information on rabies visit http://www.scdhec.gov/rabies, or contact your local DHEC BEHS office at: http://www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/DHECLocations/. CDC's rabies webpage can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies.
DHEC Media Relations