GREENVILLE Co., S.C. (WSPA) — Health officials say a rabid cat potentially exposed several people to rabies in Greer.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said Friday in a release that five people were referred to medical providers after a cat tested positive for the disease.
DHEC said the victims were possibly exposed on Oct. 25. The cat was described as a domestic shorthair with black and white fur.
Testing confirmed the unvaccinated cat had rabies on Oct. 29.
Officials say it’s the fourth animal to test positive for rabies in Greenville County this year. Across the state, there’s been 127 cases of rabid animals so far in 2019.
DHEC said keeping pets current on rabies vaccinations is one of the most effective ways to protect against the deadly disease usually spread through bites.
David Vaughan with DHEC states “saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies.”
Anyone who thinks they were exposed to the rabid cat in Greer or another animal with rabies is asked to call DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Greenville Office at 864-372-3273 during business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday) or 888-847-0902 after hours.
Vaughan suggests staying away from wild and stray animals, and having people trained to handle animals care for animals in need versus touching them to reduce your risk of getting rabies.
People who thinks they may been exposed to rabies should immediately wash any areas that may have come into contact with the animal’s saliva or nerve tissue and seek medical attention.