Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A woman in the Horry County area was exposed to rabies after being bitten by a housecat, South Carolina's DHEC reports.
The Conway woman is undergoing post-exposure treatments for rabies, after the cat tested positive for the disease by the Department of Heath and Environmental Control.
South Carolina state law requires pet owners to have their pets vaccinated against rabies annually, after this cat is the 2nd in-state, and the 5th animal in Horry County to test positive this year.
So far in 2013, DHEC reports there have been 83 confirmed cases of rabies in animals statewide.
"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, we recommend that people avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild," said Sue Ferguson of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services. "About 275 South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, with most exposures coming from bites or scratches by a rabid or suspected rabid animal. Wild animals carry the disease most often, but domestic pets can contract rabies as well."
"If you think you have been exposed to the rabies virus through a bite, scratch or the saliva of a possibly infected animal, immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water," she said. "Then be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC."
For more information about rabies, visit DHEC's website at www.scdhec.gov/rabies.