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November 29, 2016

Pickens County cat potentially exposes one person to rabies

COLUMBIA, S.C. - One person has started post-exposure treatment after being potentially exposed to rabies by a stray cat that tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today.

On Nov. 22, the victim was scratched while trying to provide care for the animal near the City of Pickens. The cat was then euthanized, submitted to DHEC's laboratory and confirmed to have rabies on Nov. 23.

"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, we recommend giving wild and stray animals their space," said Sandra Craig of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services. If you see an animal in need contact your local animal control office.

"Rabies is transmitted when saliva or neural tissue of an infected animal is introduced into the body of a healthy person or animal. Exposure can occur through a bite, scratch or contact with infected saliva to open wounds or mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose or mouth," said Craig.

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.

Hundreds of South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, due to exposure to a rabid or suspected rabid animal.

The cat is the sixth animal in Pickens County to test positive for rabies in 2016. There have been 92 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year. In 2015, 14 of the 130 rabies cases in South Carolina were in Pickens County.

Contact your local DHEC Environmental Health Services office at: For more information on rabies: visit CDC's rabies webpage can be found at:


DHEC Media Relations