A bat found in Charleston County has tested positive for rabies, authorities said.
It’s the third confirmed rabid animal of the year in the county, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Tuesday.
“Incidents involving bats require that you seek medical advice, even in the absence of an obvious bite wound,” said Sue Ferguson of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health. “If you find a bat in your home, or if you see a bat in the room of an unattended child, or near a mentally impaired or an intoxicated person, you should seek medical advice and have the bat tested.”
According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of the recent human rabies cases in the U.S. have been caused by exposure to rabid bats.
Ferguson said state law requires pet owners to have their pets are regularly vaccinated against the disease.
“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.”
There were three confirmed cases of rabies in Charleston County last year. There were 107 confirmed cases of rabies in South Carolina. There have been 75 confirmed cases in animals statewide this year.