Category Archives: Community Health

Enter Our #EndRabies Photo Contest for World Rabies Day

by Terri McCollister

World Rabies Day, Sept. 28, is an international event that seeks to raise awareness about rabies in order to enhance prevention and control efforts. Rabies is a deadly virus that kills humans, pets, and wildlife across the globe. Education and regular vaccinations are the key to #EndRabies.

As of 9/25/2019 there have been 109 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina this year. In 2018, there were 100 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide.

SC Rabies

The SC Rabies Application provides statistics of rabies cases by county, species, and year. View rabies statistics across the state here

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a virus (Lyssavirus) that can be transmitted when saliva or neural tissue of an infected animal is introduced into the body of a healthy person or animal. It infects cells in the central nervous system, causing disease in the brain and, ultimately, death. Any animal with rabies has the ability to transmit the disease to humans or pets. In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. Keep in mind, pets are just as susceptible to the virus.

Rabies Prevention

Join us in the fight to #EndRabies by keeping your pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccination. This not only protects your pet, it protects you and your family from this deadly virus.  (As part of our effort to increase awareness of rabies, we encourage you to participate in this year’s photo contest that features your vaccinated pets and livestock. You can view contest rules on our website. (The World Rabies Day photo album will be posted on Facebook or Flickr.)

Rabies Photo Contest

DHEC invited South Carolinians to send in photos of their vaccinated pets and livestock to help raise awareness about rabies prevention for World Rabies Day. #EndRabies

Another great way to safeguard against rabies is to avoid wild animals, particularly wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild, and to educate your children on the dangers of handling unknown animals. If you see an animal that appears sick, contact your local animal control office, wildlife control operator, rehabilitation group, or veterinarian for help. Never handle stray animals or wildlife, and make sure to keep them away from your family pets. You can learn more about rabies symptoms here.

Pets

Exposure to a rabid bat can easily be overlooked. Bat bites can go unnoticed because they have such small teeth, often people – especially children – don’t realize they’ve been bitten. If you find a bat in a room, tent, or cabin where someone has been sleeping, or find a bat where children, pets, or persons with impaired mental capacity (intoxicated or mentally disabled) have been left unattended, always assume a bite occurred. Any bat that could have had potential contact with people, pets, or livestock should be safely trapped in a sealed container and not touched. Contact your local DHEC Environmental Health Services office to report the incident.

Reporting Possible Rabies Exposure

If you’re bitten or scratched by a wild, stray, or unvaccinated animal care for the wound properly and contact your health care provider immediately. The health care provider is required by the Rabies Control Act to report the incident to DHEC.

If you or your child is bitten, scratched or otherwise exposed and you do not seek medical treatment for the wound, you are required by the Rabies Control Act to report the bite to DHEC by the end of the following business day. Contact information for the Environmental Health Services office in your area can be found here.

For more information on rabies, visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies.

World Rabies Day is co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC).

Be a Food Safety Hero During National Food Safety Education Month

September is National Food Safety Education Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from eating contaminated food.

Follow these tips from the CDC to protect yourself and your loved ones from foodborne illness:

  • Clean: Wash hands, utensils, and kitchen surfaces often when you cook. Germs are everywhere.
  • Separate: Keep fresh produce separate from raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. Use separate cutting boards and plates.
  • Cook: Always use a food thermometer to know when food is safely cooked.
  • Chill: Refrigerate perishable food and leftovers within two hours.

DHEC plays an important part in South Carolina’s food safety, including inspections, food grades, and education. Visit https://scdhec.gov/food-safety to learn more about DHEC’s role.

September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month

National Sickle Cell Awareness Month brings attention to this crippling illness, a genetic disease that many people around the world struggle with and must manage daily.  Recognizing Sickle Cell Awareness Month helps to dismiss stereotypes and stigmas associated with persons who have sickle cell disease.  Not only does this month shine light on sickle cell disease (SCD) but also sickle cell trait (SCT).  Here is some -information about SCD and SCT.

Quick Facts About SCD:

  • SCD is a blood disorder that causes sickling of the red blood cells.
  • Sickle-shaped red blood cells become stuck in blood vessels and cause disruption of blood flow – this results in crises.
  • SCD affects 100,000 people in the United States.
  • SCD is an inherited blood disorder from the person’s parent, like any other genetic trait, such, as hair color and texture, and eye color.

Quick Facts About SCT:

  • SCT is where a person inherits one sickle cell gene and one normal gene.
  • SCT is not a disease and is generally asymptomatic.
  • SCT affects 1 million to 3 million Americans and 8 to 10 percent of African Americans.
  • Persons with SCT can pass the trait on to their children.

 

What is the Likelihood a person will inherit SCD or SCT?

Sickle Cell DHEC Infographic

DHEC’s Sickle Cell Program

DHEC’s Division of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) provides assistance to persons with sickle cell disease by covering services, such as:

  • medical expenses
  • physician visits
  • durable medical equipment
  • medical supplies
  • prescription drugs

Assistance is offered to both children and adults who meet eligibility requirements.  Additionally, CYSHCN partners with the Newborn Screening Follow-Up program to ensure infants who are newly diagnosed with sickle cell disease have a medical home to address treatment and care for their disease.

Through partnerships with four sickle cell community-based organizations — the James R. Clark Memorial Sickle Cell Foundation, – Louvenia D. Barksdale Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, – Orangeburg Area Sickle Cell Foundation and – COBRA Human Services Agency Sickle Cell Program — more persons with sickle cell disease are able to obtain services and support.

South Carolina’s Efforts to Address Services for Sickle Cell Patients & Families

As a part of the agency’s commitment to educate the community and public about the availability of resources and services for individuals and families living with sickle cell disease, DHEC collaborated with the South Carolina Sickle Cell Disease Advocacy Team to develop “A Call to Action: South Carolina Sickle Cell Disease State Plan.”  This three-year plan provides a framework for addressing gaps in sickle cell disease care as well as highlights strategies and resources to support patients with SCD.

The full plan be viewed at Sickle Cell Plan_CR-012241_Final.

sickle cell plan

If you have questions about the DHEC sickle cell program, contact the CYSHCN office at 803-898-0784.  For general information about sickle cell disease, visit cdc.gov/sicklecell or http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sca.

#Bethe1To Stop Suicide for Suicide Prevention Month

Every September the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) recognizes National Suicide Prevention Month. This month was created to highlight ways everyone can prevent suicide in their families, friendships, and other relationships.

Suicide is defined as a death resulting from the use of force against oneself when evidence indicates that the use of force was intentional. Suicide is a serious public health issue that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

2019-06 SCVDRS Suicide Factsheet[78]_Page_2

Know the Facts About Suicide in South Carolina

According to the 2018 South Carolina State Health Assessment:

  • The suicide rate has increased from 11.7 per 100,000 in 2007 to 15.7 per 100,000 in 2016.
  • Suicide was the fourth leading cause of premature death in South Carolina in 2016.
  • In adults aged 55-64 years, suicide was the main cause of injury death in 2016.
  • The suicide rate during 2016 was higher in men (24.6 per 100,000) than women (7.6 per 100,000).

Suicide_SC Health Assessment

What is DHEC Doing to Stop Suicide?

Internally, DHEC has a workgroup comprised of 16 central office and regional staff from different bureaus, divisions and professions. With technical assistance from the SC Department of Mental Health’s Office of Suicide Prevention, this group is working to implement the Zero Suicide framework at the agency. The Zero Suicide work group focuses on the development of suicide safe care pathways within the agency, which includes the creation of agency wide policy and procedures to identify and refer individuals struggling with suicide, training standards, and quality improvement measures. Adoption of this evidence-based framework aligns with the recommendations from the South Carolina Strategy for Suicide Prevention 2018-2025, created by the South Carolina Suicide Prevention Coalition.

DHEC uses the SC Violent Death Reporting System to support state and national partners with their prevention efforts by collecting and analyzing violent death information to determine circumstances that contribute to suicide, homicide, and accidental firearm deaths within the state.

To learn more about suicide prevention and how you can make a difference, visit #BeThere to Help.

South Carolina Health at a Glance: Chronic Disease and Risk Factors (Part 3)

Our next installment of the 2018 Live Healthy State Health Assessment summaries covers chronic disease and risk factors.  Because this section lists many chronic diseases that affect South Carolina, we will summarize in three sections. In our first section we summarized South Carolina findings on obesity, prediabetes, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, heart disease, and stroke. The next section summarized physical activity, nutrition, and cigarette smoking.  Our last section will cover all cancers in South Carolina. Check out our previous posts:  overview of the reportSouth Carolina demographicsleading causes of death and hospitalizationcross-cutting, access to healthcare, and maternal and infant health.

In the United States, cancer remains a leading cause of death, second only to heart disease. In South Carolina, cancer has surpassed heart disease in recent years as the leading cause of death. South Carolina ranks 32nd in the nation for new cases of cancer, however ranks 14th for deaths due to cancer.  Approximately 50% to 75% of cancer deaths are caused by three preventable lifestyle factors: tobacco use, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise.

SC Cancer_Assessment

  • In 2016, 10,349 South Carolina residents died from cancer.
  • Cancer of the lung and bronchus contributed to the largest number of deaths for residents of South Carolina in 2016.
  • From 2006 to 2015 in South Carolina, the rate of new cases of cancer decreased from a high of 486.8 per 100,000 in 2006 to a low of 452.8 per 100,000 in 2015.
  • The counties in South Carolina with the highest rates of new cancers during 2011 to 2015 combined were Chester, Dorchester, Lee, Sumter, and Union.

SC Cancer by County_Assessment

Lung Cancer

  • While South Carolina ranks 32nd in the United States for new cases of all cancers combined, lung cancer poses a challenge in that South Carolina ranks 16th in comparison.
  • Lung cancer was the second leading cause of new cases of cancer in 2015. It was the leading cause of cancer deaths in 2016, claiming the lives of 2,701 South Carolina residents.
  • South Carolina’s rate of new cases of lung cancer decreased from a high of 74.4 per 100,000 population in 2006 to a low of 64.5 per 100,000 population in 2015.

In our last section about South Carolina’s chronic diseases and risk factors, we will summarize information about all cancers. For more detailed information about chronic diseases and risk factors that affect our state, visit https://www.livehealthysc.com/uploads/1/2/2/3/122303641/chronic_disease_and_risk_factors_sc_sha.pdf.

Female Breast Cancer

  • In South Carolina during 2016, 75.4% of women aged 50 to 74 years old, reported receiving a mammogram within the last two years.
  • In 2015 there was a total of 4,077 new cases of breast cancer, and of these, 1,306 were diagnosed as late-stage in South Carolina representing a rate of 42.9 per 100,000.
  • South Carolina had a higher breast cancer death rate than the United States in 2016.

Cervical Cancer

  • South Carolina ranks in the lowest quartile nationally for adolescents having received one or more doses of the HPV vaccine.
  • In 2016, 79.4% of women 21 to 65 years old reported having a Pap smear within the past three years.
  • Black women are diagnosed at a higher rate than White women in South Carolina (22% higher).

Colorectal Cancer

  • In 2015, there were 2,320 new cases of invasive colon and rectum cancer in South Carolina. South Carolina met the Healthy People 2020 goal of 39.9 new cases of colorectal cancer per 100,000 population.
  • More women (71.4%) received the recommended colorectal screening than men (66.5%) in 2016.
  • Non-Hispanic Blacks (45.8 cases per 100,000 population) had a higher rate of new cases of colorectal cancer compared to non-Hispanic Whites (38.1 cases per 100,000 population) in 2015.

Prostate Cancer

  • In 2016, 43.7% of men ages 40 years and older reported receiving a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test within the past two years.
  • There were 3,521 new cases of prostate cancer in 2015 in South Carolina.
  • Non-Hispanic Black males (173.4 cases per 100,000)) had a higher rate of new cases of prostate cancer than non-Hispanic White males (97.8 cases per 100,000) in 2015.

For more information about South Carolina cancer statistics, read the full Chronic Disease and Risk Factors chapter of the 2018 State Health Assessment.