CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) on Thursday confirmed that one person and one cat were exposed to a rabid bat in Downtown Charleston.
The bat, found near Rutledge Avenue and Broad Street, was submitted to DHEC for testing on August 24 and was confirmed positive on August 25.
The person was referred to a healthcare provider and the cat is being quarantined.
According to Terri McCollister, DHEC Rabies Program Team Leader, “people don’t always realize they’ve been bitten since bat teeth are tiny and bites are easy to overlook.”
McCollister said that people should always assume they have been bitten if:
- They wake up to find a bat in the room or tent
- A bat is found where children, pets, or persons with impaired mental capacity (intoxicated or mentally disabled) have been left unattended
- A person or pet has been in direct contact with a bat
Not all bats are infected with rabies. McCollister said that “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 homes or on lawns.
Ultimately, rabies infections must be confirmed by DHEC.