DHEC: Rabid feral kitten found near Williams-Brice Stadium, warn of feral cot colony exposure
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says a feral kitten found near Williams-Brice Stadium tested positive for rabies. Authorities say the kitten, which was white with orange coloring on its ears, paws, tail and face, was found around the Cockabooses between Key Road and Bluff Road. The kitten was submitted for rabies testing Monday and the results came back positive Tuesday.
DHEC says one person was exposed to the kitten and they have been referred to their healthcare provider. Officials say the kitten was known to be part of a feral kitten colony in the area, and stray cats can be a significant source for rabies exposure. DHEC says if you have pets in the area with unexplained injuries or you see them interacting with feral cats, you should contact your veterinarian.
DHEC says they are working with City of Columbia Animal Control to identify any more exposures in stray cats in the area.
“The rabies virus can be transmitted through exposure to saliva and neural tissue from an infected animal before the animal shows any signs of disease or illness. It is very important for you to seek medical attention if you have been exposed to a wild, stray, or domestic animal,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and can be transmitted through a bite, scratch, broken skin, and the mucous membranes of your eyes, nose, or mouth. Immediately wash any affected area with plenty of soap and water. Contact your local Environmental Affairs office for further guidance as rabies is preventable after exposure if post exposure treatment is provided in a timely manner. Rabies is fatal if left untreated.”
If you believe your pet has been exposed to a rabid animal, DHEC urges you to contact DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Columbia office at 803-896-0620 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday). To report a bite or exposure after these hours, call the DHEC after-hours service number at 888-847-0902.
For more information on rabies from DHEC, visit scdhec.gov/health/diseases-conditions/insect-or-animal-borne-disease/rabies.