Rabid Cat Confirmed in Anderson County; One Person and Two Pets Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Jan. 23, 2023
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a feral black cat found near Firetower Road and Highway 252 in Honea Path, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. One person was exposed and has been referred to their healthcare provider. Two dogs were exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act. Three other feral cats were observed in the area and were potentially exposed.
The cat was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on January 19, 2023, and was confirmed to have rabies on January 20, 2023.
“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control operator, or wildlife rehabilitator.”
If you believe that you or someone you know has had contact with or been potentially exposed to this feral black cat or another suspect animal, please reach out to your local Environmental Affairs office. 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. Stray and feral cats serve as a significant source for rabies exposure. If pets in the area have received any unexplained injuries or have been seen interacting with feral cats in recent weeks, please contact your veterinarian’s office.
If you believe that you, someone you know, or your pets have come in contact with this feral black cat, or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Anderson office at (864) 260-5585 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2).
It is important to keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccination which is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease. This cat is the second animal in Anderson County to test positive for rabies in 2023. There have been six cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2022, eight of the 83 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Anderson 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.