COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Two people were potentially exposed to rabies by a kitten that tested positive, according the Dept. of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

It happened near the city of Liberty in Pickens Co. 

The victims were bitten or scratched by the kitten and they have been referred to their health care providers.

The kitten tested positive for rabies on September 11.

“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.

“It is important to keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccination as this is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect yourself, your family, and your pets from this fatal disease,” said Vaughan.

DHEC says to give wild and stray animals their space. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and contact your local animal control or wildlife rehabilitator.

If you think you, your family members, or your pets have come in contact with this kitten or another animal that potentially has rabies, call DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Greenville office at (864) 372-3273 during normal business hours (M-F, 8:30-5:00).

DHEC says if any part of your body may have come into contact with saliva or neural tissue, be sure to immediately wash the area 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, call the DHEC after-hours service number (888) 847-0902.

DHEC says the kitten is the third animal in Pickens Co. to test positive for rabies in 2018.

There have been 71 cases of animal rabies in SC in 2018.