Tag Archives: disease

DHEC in the News: Flu, rare illness, TB

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

So far, flu activity is minimal in SC, but experts don’t know yet how bad it will get

While only one lab-confirmed case of the flu was reported to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control by Oct. 13, health experts highly recommend that individuals get a flu shot soon.

Acute Flaccid Myelitis: what you need to know about the disease that’s affecting kids

Lexington, SC (WLTX) — Many have heard about the most recent rise in a rare polio like illness, including here in South Carolina.

“It’s a rare, but significant condition that effects the spinal cord,” Lexington Medical Center Physician Dr. Joshua Prince said.

Case of tuberculosis confirmed at University of South Carolina Upstate

A case of tuberculosis was confirmed this week in a person associated with the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, according to a statement from S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

You Can Help #EndRabies: Share the Message. Save a Life

By Travis Shealy
SC DHEC Rabies Prevention Program Manager

Share the message. Save a life. 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. This year, SC DHEC is asking South Carolinians to submit photos of their vaccinated pets and livestock to be included in our World Rabies Day 2018 Photo Album. For more information on submission details, please visit our website.

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 as wild animals.

Rabies in S.C.

Since 2013, South Carolina has averaged approximately 110 confirmed cases of rabies in animals a year. The SC Rabies by the Numbers Map provides statistics of rabies cases by county, species, and year. View rabies statistics from across the state here

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.

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 operatorrehabilitation group, or veterinarian for help. Never handle strays or wildlife, and make sure to keep them away from your family pets. You can learn more about rabies symptoms here.

Bats: Rabid bats have been known to transmit the rabies virus to humans and pets. People don’t always realize they’ve been bitten since bat teeth are tiny and bites are easy to overlook. Because of this, you should always assume a person has potentially been bitten when:

  • They wake up to find a bat in the room or tent;
  • A bat is found where children, pets, or persons with impaired mental capacity (intoxicated or mentally disabled) have been left unattended;
  • A person or pet has been in direct contact with a bat.

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. Never release a bat that has potentially exposed a person or pet. Once a bat is released, it cannot be tested for rabies. Similarly, never handle a bat or any wild or stray animal, alive or dead, with your bare hands.

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 on our website at www.scdhec.gov/ea-regional-offices.

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

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

Raising the Awareness Bar on Sickle Cell Trait and Sickle Cell Disease

September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, let’s raise the awareness bar to highlight sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease.

What is Sickle Cell Disease?

 SCD is a blood disorder that causes sickling of the red blood cells, which diminishes the amount of oxygen the red blood cell can carry throughout the body. Persons who have SCD suffer from crises — episodes of intense and excruciating pain that may be in one or multiple parts of the body when sickle-shaped red blood cells become stuck in a blood vessel and cause a disruption of blood flow in that particular area. While people are most familiar with sickle cell anemia, other variations of sickle cell, or mutations, include sickle cell thalassemia, sickle beta thalassemia, and others.

What is Sickle Cell Trait?

 SCT results when a person inherits one sickle cell gene and one normal gene from either of their parents. Persons with sickle cell trait usually do not have any of the symptoms of SCD, but they can pass the trait on to their children.

How are SCT and SCD related?

 An individual who has SCD has a family history of SCT – meaning the person’s parent(s) have sickle cell trait or sickle cell disease. SCD is inherited when a child receives two sickle cell genes from each parent. For someone who has SCT, the likelihood of having a child that has SCD or SCT is different. If both parents have SCT, there is a 50 percent chance the child will have SCT, a 25 percent chance the child may have SCD, and a 25 percent chance the child will not have SCD or SCT.

SickleCellAwareness 2018

The urge to increase awareness on sickle cell trait and disease is apparent across several organizations.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new informational materials and videos of individuals’ personal experiences living with sickle cell disease or sickle cell trait. To view these videos, visit cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/materials/video.html.

What is South Carolina’s response?

The South Carolina Sickle Cell Disease Advocacy Team (SCSCDAT) was established in 2017 with one common goal – to improve the treatment and care received by individuals and their families who have sickle cell disease. A multidisciplinary team comprised of physicians, hematologists, government agencies, non-profit organizations, healthcare management organizations, and individuals living with SCD and their family members, has been working on a statewide sickle cell disease plan to address the lack of resources to proficiently care and treat individuals of all ages living with sickle cell disease. The plan will help coordinate and improve collaboration in the areas of education, outreach, treatment, and funding.

Community-based organizations at work

Currently, DHEC maintains partnerships with four sickle cell community-based organizations — the James R. Clark Memorial Sickle Cell Foundation, the Louvenia D. Barksdale Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, the Orangeburg Area Sickle Cell Foundation and the COBRA Human Services Agency Sickle Cell Program. Through these partnerships, more people with sickle cell are able to obtain services and support. These organizations work to provide education, counseling, testing for sickle cell trait, and family support.

Although September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, increasing public and community knowledge about sickle cell is a 365-day initiative. Raise the awareness bar on sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease.

If you have questions about testing for you or your family, you can visit one of the four sickle cell community-based organizations. For more general information about sickle cell, visit cdc.gov/sicklecell or www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sca.

DHEC in the News: Schools and e-cigarettes, trapping mosquitoes, opioid crisis

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

40 percent of SC school districts don’t have tobacco rules that cover e-cigarettes

As e-cigarettes gain in popularity among teenagers, many South Carolina school districts have not updated policies to discourage their use.

More than 100,000 minors in South Carolina will one day die prematurely from a smoking-related disease, research shows. Eighty-three percent of South Carolinians who smoke started before they turned 18.

Don’t touch that cup! DHEC using special cups to trap mosquitoes

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – You may see some unusual looking cups popping up around your neighborhood soon, and South Carolina health officials say you need to just leave them be.

That’s because the cups are being used to trap mosquitoes for a special study conducted by DHEC to track a specific type of mosquito that’s capable of transmitting the Zika virus.

S.C. opioid crisis has not abated

South Carolina recently got bad news on the level of the opioid abuse crisis in the state.

For the third year in a row, the number of opioid-involved overdose deaths has increased in the Palmetto State, according to data collected by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. From 2014 to 2017, the total number of deaths related to opioid overdose increased by 47 percent, from 508 to 748 deaths.

From Other Blogs: National Immunization Awareness Month, convenience foods, disaster recovery & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Honor National Immunization Awareness Month by Taking Your Best Shot

Last month, news broke that an infant in San Bernardino County, California, died from whooping cough.

As a pediatrician, public health advocate, father, and grandfather of a young infant, it is one of my greatest sorrows to know that even one child died from a disease that is preventable.

Thanks to vaccines, we can protect young infants against whooping cough by making sure everyone is up to date with their vaccines.  — From the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) blog

What Drives Consumers to Purchase Convenience Foods?

Many Americans lead busy lives and don’t have a lot of time to prepare food for their families. Faced with greater time constraints from work, childcare, and commuting, they often turn to convenience foods. Convenience foods are defined as types of foods that save time in food acquisition, preparation, and cleanup. Convenience foods are restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food from grocery stores. The ready-to-eat food encompasses many types of food ranging from bananas to frozen pizza that require little or no preparation. Although these convenience foods save time, they tend to have lower nutritional values and can be more expensive than food that takes more time to prepare. — From the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) blog

#IAmHHS: Helping U.S. Communities Recover after a Disaster

Over my career at HHS, I’ve assisted communities across America in recovering from more than 30 different disasters. So I’m often asked, which was the worst disaster you worked on?

I can’t answer that.  If you’re the person whose home, business or school was destroyed, it’s the worst hurricane, earthquake, tornado, flood, or incident ever. You simply cannot compare disasters.  Every disaster is different; every community is different.  Instead, what matters is to peel back the layers of the onion and see how a community has been affected by the disaster. Whether that is a Hurricane Harvey or the creek that floods out one house, all are devastatingly difficult for the people affected. — From the HHS blog

FDA Announces Two Initiatives to Modernize Drug Quality Programs

Patients expect and deserve high-quality drugs – this means consistently safe and effective medicines, free of defects and contamination. To satisfy these important expectations, the FDA strives to make sure that FDA-approved drugs are manufactured to meet quality standards to ensure that every dose is safe, effective, and capable of providing its intended benefit. — From the US Food & Drug Administration’s blog

5 Common Flood Insurance Myths

The National Flood Insurance Program has worked to protect the life you’ve built for the past 50 years and will continue to do so into the future.  Don’t let rumors and myths drive your decisions.

Here are the five most common myths about flood insurance. — From the Federal Emergency Management Agency blog