News Releases

News Releases

Rabid Cat and Kitten Confirmed in Florence County; Nineteen People Exposed

June 4, 2024

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that two cats from Florence County have tested positive for rabies.

  • An orange 6- to 8-week-old kitten found with wounds of unknown origin near Hoffmeyer Road and S. Cashua Drive in Florence, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. Eighteen people are known to have been exposed at this time and have been referred to their health care providers. This is an ongoing investigation.
  • A second cat, a 2 to 3-year-old neutered male, black and white in color and found near Pamplico Highway and Freedom Boulevard in Florence, S.C., has also tested positive for rabies. One person was exposed and referred to their health care provider.

Both the cat and kitten from Florence County were submitted to DHEC’s laboratory on June 3, 2024, and were confirmed to have rabies on June 3, 2024. If you believe you, someone you know, or your pets have come in contact with either cat or kitten from Florence County, or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Public Health Conway office at (843) 915-8801 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).

“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program director. “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. Rabies virus can be present in the saliva of infected dogs, cats, and ferrets during illness and even several days before clinical signs develop.”

Stray and feral cats serve as a significant source for rabies exposure. 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 pets in the area have received any unexplained injuries or have been seen interacting with stray or feral cats in recent weeks, please contact your veterinarian’s office.

In 2024, this cat and kitten are the second and third animals to test positive for rabies in Florence County. There have been 31 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. Of the 78 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina in 2023, four were in Florence County.

Contact information for local Public Health offices is available at For more information on rabies visit or



Media Relations Rabies Florence