COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has confirmed that a cat found near the intersection of U.S. 76 and Lipscomb Road in Mullins tested positive for rabies.
Two people were exposed and have been referred to their health care providers. The cat was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on Aug. 9 and confirmed to have rabies on Aug. 10.
“Keeping your pets up to date on their rabies vaccination is the easiest way to protect you and your family from this deadly virus,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program team leader. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to people or pets. So, give wild and stray animals plenty of space. In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats; but pets are just as susceptible to the virus. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control operator, or a wildlife rehabilitator.
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 direct contact (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth) with saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from an infected animal.”
If your pet is found with wounds of unknown origin, please consider that your pet may have been exposed to rabies. If you believe that you, family members, or pets have come into contact with either of these cats or another animal that potentially has rabies, call DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Florence office at 843-661-4825 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at 888-847-0902 (Select Option 2).
The Mullins cat is the first animal to test positive for rabies from Marion County this year. There have been 52 cases of rabid animals statewide in 2021. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, there were 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina, five of those cases were in Greenville County and two of those cases were in Marion County.