Rabid Cat Confirmed in York County; One Person and Two Cats Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 4, 2023
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a stray cat found near Glasscock and Reese roads in Rock Hill, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. One person was exposed and has been referred to their health care provider. Two stray cats were known to have been exposed to the rabid cat and DHEC is working with local animal control to assist in capturing the cats.
The cat was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on October 2, 2023, and was confirmed to have rabies on October 3, 2023. If you believe 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 Public Health Rock Hill office at (803) 909-7096 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).
“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 director. “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.” Stray and feral cats are 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.
This cat is the fifth animal in York County to test positive for rabies in 2023. There have been 67 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2022, five of the 83 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in York County.