A stray cat that scratched a Newberry County resident had rabies, state health officials said on Friday.
The cat was noticed on Monday in an area southeast of the town of Silverstreet in the county. It was making “unusual vocalizations” and became aggressive and lashed out when the person approached it, the DHEC news release said.
The victim, who was scratched by the cat, was referred to a health professional for a discussion of treatment options.
The stray was the second animal in Newberry County with a confirmed case of rabies this year. Statewide, there have been 36 confirmed cases of the animal rabies this year.
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Rabies is transmitted when saliva or neural tissue from the infected animal is introduced into the body of another animal.
"This usually occurs through a bite; however, saliva contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies," said Sandra Craig, Director, DHEC Food Protection and Rabies Prevention Division.
To avoid the risk of exposure to rabies, people should avoid animals that are acting strangely. It is not normal for a wild or stray animal to approach a human being. They usually run away.