South Carolina health officials report the confirmation of a rabies positive cat in Honea Path, Abbeville County. The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) say the cat exposed two people and some 10 pets.

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“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space,” said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC’s Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division.”If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator. The possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere, anytime. If you believe that you or someone you know has had contact with or been potentially exposed to this or another suspect animal, please reach out to your local Environmental Affairs office. An exposure is defined as a bite, a scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected or possibly infected animal.”

It is important to keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccination, as this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease. This cat is the third animal in Abbeville  County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 71 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, three of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Abbeville  County.