Rabid Cat Confirmed in Horry County and Rabid Raccoon Confirmed in Orangeburg County; One Person and Two Pets Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sept. 13, 2023
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed two positive rabies cases in animals in two different counties:
- A cat found near Tweety and Quiet avenues in Conway, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. One person was exposed and has been referred to their healthcare provider. One dog was exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.
- A raccoon found near Swearingen Lane and County Road OC 2303 in North, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. No people are known to have been exposed at this time. One dog was exposed and will be quarantined as required in the Rabies Control Act.
The Horry County cat and Orangeburg County raccoon were submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on Sept. 11, 2023, and were confirmed to have rabies on September 12, 2023.
If you believe you, someone you know or your pets have come in contact with the Horry County cat, the Orangeburg County raccoon, or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Public Health Conway office at (843) 915-8801 or Orangeburg office at (803) 533-5480 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2).
“Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite or scratch that allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal. However, infected saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies," said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program director. “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, wildlife control operator or a wildlife rehabilitator. Please report all animal bites, scratches, and exposures to potentially rabid animals to DHEC.
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. The cat from Horry County is the first animal in that county to test positive for rabies in 2023. The Orangeburg County raccoon is the third animal in that county to test positive for rabies in 2023. There have been 61 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. Of the 83 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina in 2022, none were from Horry County, and one was in Orangeburg County.