Three Charleston adults have been told to get treatment for rabies after they were exposed a bat that tested positive for the disease.
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control staffers would not release any more information about whether they were bitten, how or where the incident occurred.
“Bats have very small, sharp teeth that might feel like a mosquito bite, so many people may not realize they have been bitten,” said Sue Ferguson, of DHEC’s Environmental Health Services in an email.
Rabies is a potentially fatal infectious disease spread by saliva. It often is spread to domestic animals from wild animals such as raccoons or foxes near developed areas and spread to humans by bites. Persons exposed to a rabid animal must begin a series of shots that costs more than $1,500. But not getting the shots is too large a risk, health officials say.
Symptoms in animals include disorientation, stumbling, falling and foaming at the mouth. Health officials warn people to stay away from domestic animals acting wild or wild animals acting relatively tame.
If you suspect you have bitten by a bat, try to capture it but being careful not to make contact with it and alert DHEC.
The bat is the fourth animal and the first bat to test positive for rabies in Charleston County this year.