1 person, 1 dog exposed to rabid bats in Lowcountry

Crime & Safety

Photo provided by C. Robiller / Naturlichter.de / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV) — One person on Hilton Head Island and one pet in Orangeburg were exposed to a rabid bat last week.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) issued a press release Monday afternoon detailing the two cases. DHEC found the bat near Lands End Road and Lands End Court on Hilton Head Island Friday.

DHEC said it referred the person to their doctor. DHEC asks anyone who comes in contact with bats or wild animals should not to touch them with bare hands.

The other bat was found near Springdale Drive and St. Matthews Road NE in Orangeburg Thursday. DHEC says the dog will quarantine as a result of its exposure.

“Rabid bats have been known to transmit the rabies virus,” said Rabies Program Team Leader, Terri McCollister. “People don’t always realize they’ve been bitten or that a pet has been bitten since bat teeth are tiny and bites are easy to overlook.”

McCollister listed the following reasons to assume they’ve been bitten, if:

  • They wake up to find a bat in a room or tent;
  • A bat is found where children, pets, or persons with impaired mental capacity (intoxicated or mentally disabled) have been left unattended; or
  • They have been in direct contact with a bat.”

DHEC urges anyone exposed to rabies to call DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Orangeburg office at 803-533-5490 or Beaufort office at 843-846-1030.

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