SUMMERTON, S.C. (WCBD) — Nine people are being treated after potentially being exposed to rabies by a stray kitten that tested positive for the disease in Clarendon County.
According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the kitten was found in Taw Caw Creek Park in August and initially became ill on September 14.
On September 16, the kitten’s illness worsened, and it began to act aggressively, according to a news release.
We’re told the kitten potentially exposed the victims to rabies through bite wounds, scratches, and saliva contact. The kitten was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on Sept. 19, and was confirmed to have rabies on Sept. 20.
Several other dogs and cats were also potentially exposed. Most of the animals will undergo a 45-day quarantine as they are current on their rabies vaccinations. A few animals are not current on their rabies vaccinations, so a longer quarantine will be required.
“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, we recommend giving wild and stray animals their space,” said Sandra Craig of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health Services (BEHS). “If you see an animal in need, contact your local animal control office.
The kitten is the third animal in Clarendon County to test positive for rabies in 2016. There have been 76 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year.
In 2015, two of the 130 rabies cases in South Carolina were in Clarendon County.