Confirmed Cases of Rabies in Franklin Co.

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Franklin County Environmental Health Director Louis Korff is warning people to stay away from injured wild animals after a rabid bat turned up in a woman’s yard recently.

It happened last Thursday at a home in the Sandy Cross community of Franklin County.

Korff said the woman discovered a large brown bat on the ground in her yard and thought it was injured.

“The nice lady is an animal lover and she was so concerned, she put a plastic container over it and then called me,” Korff said. “When I got there, this was a very large bat, quite alive, very aggressive, and even though it was down, it was quite capable of jumping six inches off the ground to try and bite me. It was a vicious little rascal.”

Korff called for a Franklin County Sheriff’s Office deputy who shot it, but even then, he says it took several shots to kill it.

He then sent the head off to the State Health Department lab for testing Friday and on Monday the results came back positive for rabies.

Korff said the woman did not touch the bat and does not need to undergo post exposure shots, but unwittingly came close to what could have been a deadly situation.

“Again, it just looked like a wounded little animal and this lady was compelled to try and help it, which was the worst thing she could have done,” Korff said. “She should have turned and walked away, gotten her animals up and then called me or 911.”

Also last week, Korff said a Red Hill man was attacked by a rabid skunk, who tried to kill it with his garden hoe.

Once again, Korff reminded people to stay away from normally nocturnal animals they see out during the daytime.

“I’m very concerned some child would see some fuzzy little bat and think they have to help it,” Korff said. “This animal was very rabid and very vicious. Again, don’t approach any animal that is hurt or in distress.”

Korff said if you see such an animal, especially if it’s a bat, raccoon, skunk, or fox, call 911 immediately.