Rabid Cat Confirmed in Greenville County; Four Human Exposures
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 6, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that an orange, male tabby cat located near Oak Brooke Way and Split Oak Court in Taylors, SC tested positive for rabies. Four people were exposed and have been referred to their healthcare providers.
The potential exposure occurred on August 3rd when the outdoor pet was found ill after it had been missing for four days. The cat’s booster vaccination was out of date by three months. The cat was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on August 3rd and was confirmed to have rabies on August 4th.
“Keeping your pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccination is the easiest way to protect you and your family from this deadly virus,” said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to humans or pets. The key to prevention is to stay away from wild and stray animals and keep your pets current on their rabies vaccinations! In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats, but pets are just as susceptible to the virus. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator. If you believe that you or someone you know has had contact with or been potentially exposed to this or another suspect animal, please reach out to your local Environmental Affairs office. An exposure is defined as a bite, a scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected or possibly infected animal."
If your pet is found with wounds of unknown origin, please consider that your pet could have been exposed to rabies and contact DHEC's Environmental Affairs Greenville office at (864) 372-3273 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday). To report a bite or exposure on holidays or times outside of normal business hours, please call the DHEC after-hours service number at (888) 847-0902.
This cat is the fourth animal in Greenville County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 83 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, four of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Greenville County.
Contact information for local Environmental Affairs Offices is available at www.scdhec.gov/EAoffices. For more information on rabies, visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies or www.cdc.gov/rabies.