DHEC: Rabid bat confirmed in Elgin, four cats potentially exposed
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says a bat that was found in Richland County tested positive for rabies. Officials say the bat was found near Wood Fox Drive and Singing Wood Lane in Elgin. DHEC says no people have reported being exposed, but four cats potentially were and will be quarantined.
According to DHEC, the bat was submitted for testing on April 21 and the positive results came back the following day.
DHEC says animals can only be tested for rabies in a lab. Officials with DHEC advise that you never handle bats or other stray animals with your bare hands, and any bat suspected to have contact with people or animals should be safely trapped in a sealed container, without touching it.
“Rabid bats have been known to transmit the rabies virus,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “People don’t always realize they or a pet have been bitten since bat teeth are tiny and bites are easy to overlook. Because of this, you should 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 persons with impaired mental capacity (intoxicated or mentally disabled) have been left unattended; or
• They have been in direct contact with a bat.”
If you believe your pet has been exposed to a rabid animal, DHEC urges you to contact DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Columbia office at 803-896-0620 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday). To report a bite or exposure after these hours, call the DHEC after-hours service number at 888-847-0902.
For more information about rabies from DHEC, visit scdhec.gov/health/diseases-conditions/insect-or-animal-borne-disease/rabies/.