Bat in Kershaw County tests positive for rabies - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Bat in Kershaw County tests positive for rabies

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says a bat found in Kerhsaw County has tested positive for rabies.

DHEC says the bat was found in a home in the Bethune area.

"Bats have small teeth that might leave marks not easily seen," said Sue Ferguson of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services.

"Some situations require medical advice even in the absence of an obvious bite wound," Ferguson said. "If you awaken and find a bat in your room, often referred to as ‘overnighting,' or if you see a bat in the room of an unattended child, or near a mentally impaired or intoxicated person, seek medical advice and have the bat tested."

According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of the recent human rabies cases in the U.S. have been caused by exposure to rabid bats.

DHEC officials say about 275 South Carolinians are advised to undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, with most exposures from being bitten or scratched by a rabid or suspected rabid animal.

Ferguson said state law requires pet owners to have their pets regularly vaccinated against the disease.

There were 137 confirmed cases of animal rabies during 2012 in South Carolina. There have been 68 confirmed cases in animals statewide this year. This animal is the second to test positive this year from Kershaw County.

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