Columbia, SC (WLTX) The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is working to identify and contact anyone who had potential contact with a bat near the Greenville Zoo that tested positive for the rabies virus.

The bat was found at the playground area near Shelter 30, in front of the Greenville Zoo on Saturday, Oct. 1 around 3:30 p.m. It was reported that several young children handled the bat before it was turned over to zoo personnel. The bat was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on Oct. 4 and confirmed to have rabies Oct. 5.

DHEC is working with Greenville County Parks and the Greenville Zoo to identify anyone who may have had contact with the sick bat. DHEC recommends that anyone who had direct contact with a bat near the Greenville Zoo around this time seek immediate medical attention.

If you have a question or concern about possible exposure, please contact DHEC's Environmental Health Services Greenville office at (864) 372-3273. Operators are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. During times outside of normal business hours or on holidays, please call (888) 847-0902.

The most common source of human rabies in the United States is from bats. And because bats have very small teeth, their bites can easily go unnoticed. Therefore, it's important to identify anyone who had potential contact with the bat that tested positive for rabies so that rabies post-exposure treatment can be started as soon as possible.