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Stray cat potentially exposes person to rabies in Aiken County

An aggressive raccoon killed in the neighborhood on the north side of the Cook Bayou Bridge in...
An aggressive raccoon killed in the neighborhood on the north side of the Cook Bayou Bridge in unincorporated Bay County is rabies positive. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: Dec. 23, 2019 at 2:31 PM EST
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AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) says one person has possibly been exposed to rabies by a stray cat in Aiken County.

DHEC says the person has been referred to their health care provider.

In a report, DHEC says the exposure happened on December 18, when the victim was bitten by a black and white stray cat on their property outside New Ellenton.

The cat was tested the next day, and on December 20 was confirmed to have rabies.

"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.

DHEC says this cat is the ninth animal in Aiken County to test positive for rabies in 2019.

DHEC says if you have reason to believe that you, your family members, or your pets have come into contact with this cat, or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Aiken office at (803) 642-1637 during normal business hours (M-F, 8:30-5:00).

DHEC says be sure to immediately wash any part of your body that may have come into contact with saliva or neural tissue with plenty of soap and water and seek medical attention.

To report a bite or exposure on holidays and/or times outside of normal business hours, please call the DHEC after-hours service number (888) 847-0902.

DHEC says there have been 146 cases of rabid animals across South Carolina this year.

They also say in 2018, four of the 100 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Aiken County.

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