Two animals in two counties may have exposed eleven people to rabies, according to South Carolina health officials.
In Clarendon County, nine people have started post-exposure treatment after potentially being exposed to rabies by a stray kitten that tested positive for the disease, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
The kitten was found in Taw Caw Creek Park in Summerton, S.C. at the beginning of August and initially became ill on Sept. 14. On Sept. 16 the kitten’s illness worsened, and it began to act aggressively. The kitten potentially exposed the victims to rabies through bite wounds, scratches and saliva contact. The kitten was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on Sept. 19, and was confirmed to have rabies on Sept. 20.
Additionally, several other dogs and cats were potentially exposed. Most of the animals will undergo a 45-day quarantine as they are current on their rabies vaccinations. A few animals are not current on their rabies vaccinations, so a longer quarantine will be required.
In Orangeburg County, DHEC reports that two people have been referred to their healthcare providers for consultation after potentially being exposed to rabies by a deer that tested positive for the disease.
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The deer was found lying on the ground on Sept. 15, 2016, north of the Town of Vance. The victims approached the deer to further assess the animal, and were potentially exposed to rabies after the deer began acting aggressively. The deer was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on Sept. 16, and was confirmed to have rabies on Sept. 19.
“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, we recommend giving wild and stray animals their space,” said Sandra Craig of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health Services (BEHS). “If you see an animal in need, contact your local animal control office.
“Rabies is a deadly virus that is transmitted when saliva or neural tissue of an infected animal is introduced into the body, usually through a bite, or contact with an open wound or areas such as the mouth or eyes,” Craig said.
There have been 76 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year.
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