Two people exposed to rabid cat in Williamston

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The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a cat found near Academy Street and West Main Street in Williamston, SC has tested positive for rabies. Two people were exposed to the cat and have been referred to their health care providers.

The cat was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on June 16 and was confirmed to have rabies on June 17.

Please contact DHEC if you know of any possible human or animal exposure. “If you think you have been exposed to the rabies virus through a bite, scratch, or the saliva of a possibly infected animal, immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water,” said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC’s Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. “Then be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC.”

If your pet appears to have been bitten or scratched by this cat, or is found with wounds of unknown origin, please consider that your pet could have been exposed to rabies and contact DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Anderson office at (864) 260-5585 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday). To report a bite or exposure on holidays or times outside of normal business hours, please call the DHEC after-hours service number at (888) 847-0902.

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 Anderson County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 59 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, 11 of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Anderson County.

Contact information for local Environmental Affairs Offices is available at www.scdhec.gov/EAoffices. For more information on rabies visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies or www.cdc.gov/rabies.