FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Two people in Florence County were potentially exposed to rabies by a stray cat that tested positive for the disease, according to South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
A press release stated the potential exposure occurred when the victims were bitten by the cat near the city of Johnsonville. The animal was described as being small, with black and white domestic short hair.
On Nov. 26, the cat was taken to DHEC’s lab for testing. The rabies confirmation came the next day, the release stated.
"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 someone sees an animal in need, they should avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals.