DHEC: Four people may have been exposed to a rabid kitten in Summerville

Dorchester County News

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DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Four people may have been exposed to a rabid kitten in Summerville.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Tuesday that a stray kitten found near West 6th North Street and North Cedar Street has tested positive for rabies.

Health officials said four people were potentially exposed to the rabid kitten and referred to their own doctors for evaluation.

They also said that a feral cat colony was observed in the area and potentially exposed. An investigation in ongoing.

The kitten was submitted to DHEC’s lab for testing on November 19th, and it was confirmed to have rabies on Monday.

“Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite or scratch which allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal. However, infected saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader.

McCollister said to reduce the risk of getting rabies, you should always give wild and stray animals their space.

“Stray and feral cats serve as a significant source for rabies exposure. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control operator, or a wildlife rehabilitator,” said McCollister.

If you believe that you, someone you know, or your pets have come in contact with this stray kitten or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Charleston office at (843) 953-0150 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2).

So far, there have been 90 cases of rabid animals across South Carolina this year.

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