The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed a male, grey and brown stray cat located near Fox Bay Road and Tiger Paw Road in Loris tested positive for rabies, according to a news release.

State health officials said one person was exposed and four pet cats were potentially exposed.

The person has been referred to their healthcare provider and the pet cats have been quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.

The stray cat was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing Nov. 6. It was confirmed to have rabies three days later.

“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space," said David Vaughan, director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. "If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator. The possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere, anytime.

"If you believe that you or someone you know has had contact with or been potentially exposed to this or another suspect animal, please reach out to your local Environmental Affairs office. An exposure is defined as a bite, a scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected or possibly infected animal."

DHEC said if you notice wounds of an unknown origin on your pet, consider whether your pet may have been exposed to rabies.

One can call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Myrtle Beach office at 843-238-4378 or the Conway office at 843-915-8801 during normal business hours. Both offices are open from 8:30 a.m-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To report a bite or exposure on holidays or times outside of normal business hours, you can call DHEC's after-hours service number at 888-847-0902.

The agency stressed the importance of keeping your pet up to date on their rabies vaccine.

This stray cat is the second animal in Horry County to test positive for rabies this year. According to DHEC, there have been 152 cases of rabid animals statewide in 2020. 

In 2019, nine of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Horry County.

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