2 in Dorchester Co. exposed to rabid bat, DHEC says

The bat was found near Sentry Circle and Royal Palm Lane. That is in the Dorchester County side...
The bat was found near Sentry Circle and Royal Palm Lane. That is in the Dorchester County side of North Charleston.(Live 5 News)
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 2:12 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The state’s department of health says two people were exposed to a bat that tested positive for rabies.

The bat was found near Sentry Circle and Royal Palm Lane. That is in the Dorchester County side of North Charleston.

It was then taken to DHEC’s laboratory on Tuesday and was confirmed to have rabies on Wednesday. The two people exposed to the bat have been referred to their healthcare providers, DHEC said.

Rabies cannot be detected by just looking at an animal, so it is best not to handle a wild or stray animal with your bare hands, according to Rabies Program Team Leader Terri McCollister.

“Any bat that could have had potential contact with people, pets, or livestock should be safely trapped in a sealed container and not touched,” McCollister said. “Once a bat is released, it cannot be tested for rabies. Never release a bat that has potentially exposed a person or pet.”

Because bats have small teeth, DHEC said it is assumed someone has 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
  • They have been in direct contact with a bat

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 Charleston office at 843 953-0150. The after-hours number is 888-847-0902.

This bat is the first animal in Dorchester County to test positive for rabies in 2022. There have been 66 cases of rabid animals statewide this year, according to a news release.

For more information on rabies, visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies or www.cdc.gov/rabies.