FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. - One person has been referred to their healthcare provider for consultation after potentially being exposed to rabies by a cat that tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today.
The potential exposure occurred on July 21, 2016, after the victim picked up a stray kitten in the area between the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport and I-85. The individual was subsequently scratched while providing care for the animal. The cat was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on July 25 and was confirmed to have rabies on July 26.
"Please play it safe and give animals their space, particularly wild and stray animals," said Sandra Craig of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services (BEHS). "Hundreds of South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year.
"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 Craig.
In addition to being cautious around wild or stray animals, 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.
The cat is the third animal in Spartanburg County to test positive for rabies in 2016. There have been 63 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year. In 2015, Spartanburg County had five rabies cases out of 130 statewide.
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