Rabid Cat Confirmed in Lancaster County; Two People and Seven Feral Cats Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 31, 2021
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a cat found near Jasper Road and Tory Road in Pageland, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. Two people were exposed and have been referred to their healthcare providers. Seven feral cats were exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.
The cat was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on December 29, 2021, and was confirmed to have rabies on December 30, 2021.
“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 Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to people or pets. Therefore, give wild and stray animals plenty of space. 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, wildlife control officer, or a wildlife rehabilitator. 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.”
If you believe that you, someone you know, or your pets have come in contact with this cat or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Lancaster office at (803) 285-7461 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).
This cat is the fifth animal in Lancaster County to test positive for rabies in 2021. There have been 101 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, three of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Lancaster County.