Tag Archives: SCDHEC

Spring rabies vaccination clinics: The perfect opportunity to protect your pets

Veterinarians across South Carolina are joining forces with DHEC this spring to help owners protect themselves, families, communities, and pets against rabies.

As required by state law, all pet owners must vaccinate their dogs, cats, and ferrets.

“Participating veterinarians will vaccinate dogs, cats, and ferrets during the spring clinics,” said David Vaughan, director of DHEC’s Division of Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement. “Rabies vaccination fees may vary by clinic site.”

Local veterinarians offer vaccines year-round, but the spring clinics help raise awareness about rabies while providing convenience to pet owners. The support from local veterinarians during the spring clinics provides a valuable public service to our citizens.

While not required by state law, DHEC strongly recommends that owners vaccinate all horses, any livestock that has frequent contact with humans, any livestock that is particularly valuable, or animals used for raw milk or raw milk product production.

Hundreds of South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year due to exposure to a rabid or suspected rabid animal. Although the cost varies, post-exposure treatment typically exceeds $8,000 per person.

“Rabies is a threat to pets, livestock, wild animals, and humans. Pet owners must stay vigilant and keep their pets’ vaccinations up-to-date,” said Vaughan. Keeping your pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect yourself, your family, and your pets from this fatal disease.

In 2017, there were 63 positive cases of rabies confirmed in animals across the state, including 29 raccoons, 13 skunks, 6 foxes, 6 cats, 4 bats, 2 coyotes, 1 dog, 1 goat, and 1 groundhog. In total, 26 of South Carolina’s 46 counties had a laboratory-confirmed positive rabies case last year. Positive rabies cases have been reported in every county in our state since the statewide program began.

Spring clinic dates, times, and locations can be found on DHEC’s website at www.scdhec.gov/Rabies/Clinics.

Help us in the fight to end the spread of rabies in South Carolina! #RabiesClinics

DHEC Helps SC Schools ‘Stop the Bleed’

In 2017 the Upstate Healthcare Coalition presented a project to provide stop the bleed kits to all regional schools in the Upstate as part of the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) grant funding, through the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). DHEC works with the coalitions to administer this grant.

Coalition WinnerThe Lowcountry, Midlands and Pee Dee Healthcare coalitions decided to implement this project in their regions as well. Spartanburg Regional Health, MUSC, Palmetto Health and Grand Strand Health are partnering with the HPP Health Care Coalitions to help facilitate this project.

The state of South Carolina and the Regional Healthcare Coalitions have received almost $1.06 million in federal grant funding. South Carolina is scheduled to receive more than 18,000 “Stop the Bleed” kits that will be evenly distributed among the four Public Health Preparedness Regions’ school districts.

Public school districts will receive “Stop the Bleed” training and tourniquet kits at no cost to the districts. The tourniquet kits will contain supplies and cuff-like devices that can stop severe traumatic bleeding during an emergency on the school campus or during a school event, enabling lay-people to intervene and potentially save lives in the event of a life-threatening injury. Each district will be allocated tourniquets based on population and will distribute them to the schools.

The model for training and distribution would be to have lead nurses in all participating districts attend train-the-trainer educational sessions, where they would obtain certificates to verify their training status upon completion. Once the lead nurses are trained, a supply of kits will be delivered to their offices for distribution at the district’s discretion (factors include, but are not limited to, the number of schools, school size and the number of buildings, and student volume).

There will be at least one training held in every region. District school nurses would be responsible for training the other nurses in their district.

region logos

DHEC in the News: Flu, opioids, coastal floods

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

Has the flu loosened its grip in SC? Here’s what the numbers say

It seems the worst has finally passed in regard to flu activity in South Carolina.

Widespread in the Palmetto State for the past 10 weeks, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control officials now believe the illness is present only on a regional basis.

Opioid prescribing limits to be imposed in South Carolina

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The South Carolina Medicaid Agency and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina will limit how many opioids doctors can prescribe to patients in some cases.

This comes after Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order in December establishing an emergency response team to battle the opioid crisis in South Carolina.

General Interest

Coastal floods to be nearly as common as high tides in South Carolina within 80 years, NOAA says

Tidal flooding is accelerating along the South Carolina coast, including at Charleston, federal researchers say. The coast might flood nearly every day by the turn of the century almost 80 years from now.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report is the latest in a series of alerts which forecast worsening conditions for South Carolina and the East Coast as seas and storm-surge rise.

Keeping watch over flu activity is critical to limiting its damage

Flu seasons such as the one South Carolina and the nation have been enduring reminds us why it is so important to monitor flu activity.

Severe flu seasons can be devastating, and even milder influenza seasons cause missed work and school time, hospitalizations and deaths.

Keeping an eye on diseases

Each year, DHEC and U.S. public health experts monitor influenza and other diseases. This activity is called disease surveillance.

Surveillance of influenza plays a big role in understanding the spread of the disease, as well as the severity of potential epidemics. Although surveillance can tell us the trend of influenza illness in South Carolina, it cannot tell us exactly how many cases of flu there are in the state.  This is because not everyone who gets the flu goes to the doctor to get tested, and we have no way of monitoring unreported cases of flu.

Flu surveillance allows DHEC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to see what impact flu is having on the health of residents. In South Carolina, influenza surveillance consists of several components. Each component provides different types of information about influenza; together, they create a solid overview of influenza activity in the state.

The benefits of surveillance

Surveillance helps us to:

  • Understand which new flu viruses are circulating in South Carolina (The types of influenza virus that infect people often change from one flu season to the next.);
  • Establish when the influenza virus first appears in the state and also when it decreases;
  • Determine where in the state the influenza virus is circulating; and
  • Understand what types of vaccines are most likely to succeed the following year.

DHEC produces a weekly summary of reported influenza activity in South Carolina in a report called Flu Watch. Visit the DHEC website for more information and the latest update of Flu Watch. Also, visit the CDC’s website for national statistics on flu.

Protect yourself

DHEC and CDC recommend that everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine, because it is the best way to combat the flu. It is also important to take other preventive actions, such as limiting contact with sick people and washing your hands frequently.

DHEC in the News: Flu, opioids

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

Flu activity no longer widespread in South Carolina after difficult season that has killed 201

Flu activity in South Carolina is considered to be regional, not widespread, for the first time since the flu began sweeping the state in the beginning of the year, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Wednesday.

Though influenza has been on the decline for a few weeks after a difficult season, the first week of March saw only 2,192 confirmed cases.

There were almost three times that amount the week before, with 6,332 cases.

DHEC report shows flu is slowing down in SC after 200 deaths

Over the course of what’s been an especially difficult flu season, there have been more than 200 deaths in South Carolina.

But a new flu report shows the flu is slowing down in our state.

ODPS preparing for opioids; city officers training to use Narcan

The Orangeburg Department of Public Safety is preparing its officers for the growing opioid problem, Chief Mike Adams said Tuesday.

“Drug overdose is currently the leading cause of accidental death in the United States with 62,497 lethal drug overdoses in 2016 for an average of one every eight and a half minutes,” Adams said.

“It took a while to get here to Orangeburg, but it’s here,” he said.