A bat found in Orangeburg has tested positive for rabies, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
No people are known to have been exposed at this time. One dog was exposed and will be quarantined as required in the S.C. Rabies Control Act.
The bat was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on Sept. 9, and was confirmed to have rabies on Sept. 10.
The bat was found near Springdale Drive and St. Matthews Road.
The bat is the third animal in Orangeburg County to test positive for rabies in 2021.
On Aug. 30, DHEC announced that a rabid raccoon was found in Orangeburg. The raccoon was found near Pinebrook Street and Dekoven Lane.
Another raccoon tested positive in the Norway area in July.
DHEC advises people to never handle a bat or any wild or stray animal, alive or dead, with bare hands. Any bat that could have had potential contact with people, pets, or livestock should be safely trapped in a sealed container and not touched.
Once a bat is released, it cannot be tested for rabies. Never release a bat that has potentially exposed a person or pet.
“Rabid bats have been known to transmit the rabies virus,” said Terri McCollister, the Rabies Program team leader. “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.”
Always assume a person or pet has potentially been bitten when:
• They wake up to find a bat in a room or tent.
• A bat is found where children, pets or people with impaired mental capacity (intoxicated or mentally disabled) have been left unattended.
• They have been in direct contact with a bat.
“Although bats can carry rabies, not every bat is infected with the virus. Bats are an important part of South Carolina's ecosystems and deserve a healthy degree of respect just like all wild animals,” McCollister said.
You cannot tell if a bat, or any other animal, has rabies by simply looking at it. Rabies must be confirmed in a laboratory.
Unusual behavior in bats that might indicate the animal has rabies includes daytime activity, inability to fly and being found in places they are not usually seen, like in your home or on your lawn.
Exposure is defined as a bite, scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected animal. Be sure to immediately wash any part of your body that may have come in contact with saliva or neural tissue with plenty of soap and water and seek medical attention.
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If you believe that you, someone you know or your pets have come in contact with this bat or another animal that potentially has rabies, \call DHEC's Environmental Affairs Orangeburg office at 803-533-5490 during normal business hours or after hours and on holidays at 888-847-0902 (select option 2).