By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
In recent days, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported on possible rabies exposures in two counties–York and Jasper.
The potential exposure occurred June 28 when the victim was attacked by a stray cat on their property in Sharon, S.C. The offending animal was described as a black and white domestic short-haired cat. The cat was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on July 1 and was confirmed to have rabies on July 2.
This stray cat is the first animal in York County to test positive for rabies in 2019.
The potential exposures occurred between June 17 and July 1 when the five victims were exposed to the cat during routine care in Ridgeland, SC. The offending animal was described as a medium-sized, gray domestic short-hair cat. The cat was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on July 1 and was confirmed to have rabies on July 2.
This cat is the second animal in Jasper County to test positive for rabies in 2019.
“Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite which allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal. However, saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies,” said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC’s Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division.
“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 or wildlife rehabilitator,” said Vaughan.
There have been 75 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2013, South Carolina has averaged approximately 108 positive cases a year.