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Oct. 3, 2013

Bat potentially exposes three Charleston adults to rabies

COLUMBIA, S.C. -Three adults from Charleston have been recommended for post-exposure treatments after being potentially exposed to rabies by a bat that tested positive for the disease, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today.

"Bats are a known carrier of rabies," said Sue Ferguson of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services. "Bats have very small, sharp teeth that might feel like a mosquito bite, so people may not realized they have been bitten."

DHEC recommends that anyone who is exposed to rabies from a possible bite from a bat, safely capture the bat and contact DHEC. Instructions for capturing a bat can be found at

"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," Ferguson said. "Then be sure to get medical attention. It is always very important to report the incident to DHEC."

There were 137 confirmed cases of animal rabies during 2012 in South Carolina. There have been 95 confirmed cases in animals statewide this year. This animal is the first bat and the fourth animal to test positive this year from Charleston County.

For more information about rabies, see DHEC's webpage at /Health/DiseasesandConditions/InfectiousDiseases/InsectAnimalBorne/Rabies/, or contact your local DHEC BEHS office. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's rabies webpage can be found at:


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