SIMPSONVILLE, SC (WSPA) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says that one person was potentially exposed to rabies by a stray cat that tested positive for the disease.

DHEC says that two stray cats were seen fighting before one turned on the victim, who was scratched.

The incident occurred between Simpsonville and Ware Place on September 25.

One of the stray cats was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory on September 29 and was confirmed to have rabies on October 2.

The other cat ran off and was not found. It was described as having a reddish-black color.

“Rabies is transmitted when saliva or neural tissue of an infected animal is introduced into the body of a person or animal,” said Sandra Craig, Director, DHEC Food Protection and Rabies Prevention Division. “This usually occurs through a bite; however, saliva contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies.”

“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals their space. If you see an animal in need, avoid handling it and contact someone trained in handling the animal, such as your local animal control office or wildlife rehabilitation facility,” said Craig.

This is the first animal to test positive for rabies in Greenville County this year.

There have been 53 cases of animal rabies in South Carolina this year.

Greenville County had 4 of 94 total rabies cases in the state in 2016.