Rabid Stray Cat Confirmed in Aiken County; No Exposures
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a grey/silver stray cat found near Twin View Court and Teak Run in Graniteville, SC has tested positive for rabies. There are no known exposures at this time.
The cat was a stray that was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on December 21st and was confirmed to have rabies on December 22nd.
“An exposure is defined as direct contact (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth) with saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from an infected animal,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. "To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals their space. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator."
If your pet appears to have been bitten or scratched by this stray cat or is found with wounds of unknown origin, please consider that your pet could have been exposed to rabies and contact DHEC's Environmental Affairs Aiken office at (803) 642-1637 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:00 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.
It is important to keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccination, as this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease. This stray cat is the sixth animal in Aiken County to test positive for rabies in 2020. Statewide this year, 168 animals have tested positive for rabies. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, nine of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Aiken 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.