Rabid Cat Found in Batesburg-Leesville Is County’s 7th Rabid Animal This Year

Posted 10/26/22

Lexington County has now matched the number of rabid animals identified in the county last year.

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Rabid Cat Found in Batesburg-Leesville Is County’s 7th Rabid Animal This Year

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Lexington County has now matched the number of rabid animals identified in the county last year.

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control announced Oct. 26 that a cat found near Line Street and Summerland in Batesburg-Leesville is the county’s seventh animal to test positive for rabies this year.

According to a press release, one person was exposed to the cat and has since been referred to their healthcare provider.

“Keeping your pets up to date on their rabies vaccination is the easiest way to protect you and your family from this deadly virus,” Terri McCollister, DHEC’s Rabies Program Team Leader is quoted, repeating advice issued earlier this year. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to people or pets. Therefore, give wild and stray animals plenty of space. In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats, but pets are just as susceptible to the virus. 

“If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control officer, or a wildlife rehabilitator.”

The cat found in Batesburg-Leesville was submitted for testing Oct. 24, the same day as a rabid raccoon found in Lee County. Both were confirmed to have rabies on Oct. 25. 

DHEC asks that if you, your pets or someone you know came in contact with the rabid cat in Lexington County — or another animal that potentially has rabies — call the department’s Environmental Affairs Columbia office (803-896-0620) or Sumter office  (803-778-6548) during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (select option two).

According to DHEC, the state has seen 68 cases of rabies this year, compared to 101 in 2021. 

According to the department’s rabies database, In Lexington County, 14 rabid animals were confirmed in 2020, following 17 in 2019 and 7 in 2018.

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