DHEC: Bat exposes 2 people in Spartanburg Co. to rabies - FOX Carolina 21

DHEC: Bat exposes 2 people in Spartanburg Co. to rabies

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SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Two people in Spartanburg County came into contact with a rabid bat, prompting the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to suggest them to seek medical treatment.

The people were exposed to the viral infection while outdoors in the Old Canaan Community area of the county, DHEC announced on Friday.

DHEC suggests that anyone who is exposed to a possible bite from a bat to either safely capture or kill the bat, put it in a plastic bag and contact their nearest DHEC office.

"Rabid bats have been known to transmit the virus to humans," said Sandra Craig of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services. "Bats have very small, sharp teeth that might feel like a mosquito bite, so people might not realize that they have been bitten."

"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, we recommend that people avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild," Craig said. "About 275 South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, with most exposures coming from bites or scratches by a rabid or suspected rabid animal. Wild animals contract the disease most often, but domestic pets can contract rabies as well."

DHEC said there have been 124 cases of animal rabies in 2013. In 2014, there have been 79 confirmed cases up to this point.

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