Wednesday, July 20, 2011
AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. --- The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today that an Aiken County woman is under the care of a physician after being bitten by a bat that tested positive for rabies.
Sue Ferguson of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health said the woman thought she was picking up a leaf out of a swimming pool but it turned out to be a bat that then bit her on the finger.
"In cases like this, people know when they have been bitten by a bat," Ferguson said. "However, bats have small teeth that may leave marks not easily seen, and some situations require that you seek medical advice even in the absence of an obvious bite wound. For example, if you awaken and find a bat in your room 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."
Ferguson said once the rabies virus reaches the brain, the disease is fatal to humans and animals, so the woman is receiving preventive inoculations.
This is the sixth confirmed rabid animal in Aiken County this year. Last year, there were no rabid animals confirmed in the county.