Tag Archives: Vaccination

DHEC in the News: National STD Awareness Month, rabies vaccination clinics, opioids

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

DHEC to provide free STD testing for Awareness Month

(WIS) – In honor of April being National STD Awareness Month, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will be offering free STD testing on April 18.

The tests will be conducted at DHEC’s public health clinics. Appointments are encouraged.

Rabies vaccination clinics set for April

Veterinarians across South Carolina are joining forces with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control this spring to help owners protect themselves, families, communities, and pets against rabies.

Florence Rotarians hear all about the war on drugs

FLORENCE, S.C. – The national opioid problem is a crisis that involves heroin and an epidemic that involves prescription pain medicine.

But the biggest enemy in an epic war on drugs is fentanyl.

Active flu season: A Case Study In How DHEC Works Year Round To Protect S.C.’s Health

By Lilian Peake, MD
Director, Public Health

The current flu season, one of the most active in recent years, has commanded the attention of our entire state and nation. And for good reason: The flu can be a serious threat. This contagious respiratory illness can cause mild to severe illness, with potentially serious complications resulting in hospitalization or death.dr-lilian-peake-dhec

That’s why it is so important to have a strong public health system not only working to prevent disease, but also monitoring the health and well-being of the people of South Carolina and responding as situations arise.

As South Carolina’s lead public health and environmental agency, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is responsible for protecting and promoting the health of our community. Our public health system must be well prepared to address a variety of health threats to our citizens. These threats may be infectious diseases, such as West Nile virus, whooping cough, and flu, or disasters, such as hurricanes. DHEC employs skilled public health and environmental control professionals who work every day to improve the health of South Carolinians and maintain readiness to respond to any public health threats to our community.

DHEC public health professionals work year round to provide education and surveillance to prepare for seasonal flu as well as the threat of pandemic flu. DHEC staff collaborate with other public health professionals, health care providers and community partners each year, both before and during flu season, to help our state better respond to flu, no matter how severe the season.

Prevention is the first place to start. Getting vaccinated is the best way South Carolinians can prevent the spread of influenza. Yearly vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. DHEC provides flu vaccination at its health clinics across the state, in schools, and in other community settings. Health care providers, pharmacies and others also provide flu shots. This season DHEC was a partner in a Palmetto Health initiative to provide flu vaccine clinics in churches in the Midlands.

DHEC shares prevention messages and other information on its website and through news releases, interviews, blog posts, social media and public service announcements. This helps keep the public up-to-date on the flu season and inform them of the important steps they can take to protect themselves, their families, and vulnerable members of their community.

Monitoring (or conducting surveillance) of influenza plays an important role in understanding the spread of the flu, the severity of the season and its impact on South Carolina.  It helps detect novel influenza strains, measure the effects of influenza, determine where the flu is spreading in the state and the nation, and identify unusual clustering of cases or outbreaks. Detecting flu early in the season provides more opportunity to encourage members of high-risk groups to get vaccinated before the virus becomes widespread.

Certain influenza data are required to be reported to DHEC to allow for monitoring, including confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths. These data are used to produce FluWatch, a weekly summary of influenza activity in South Carolina. Outbreaks of flu in schools, child care centers, health care facilities and elsewhere must also be reported, and DHEC provides guidance to help stop the spread of influenza.

DHEC also partners with hospitals to help respond to flu. During this year’s active season, hospitals across the state put their medical surge plans into operation to successfully handle the increased number of patients. Working with hospitals and the South Carolina Hospital Association, DHEC facilitated a process in which bed availability and emergency room status were gathered daily. By working together, there was assurance that patients got the care they needed.

Such collaboration supports DHEC’s vision of healthy people living in healthy communities. It is good to know that when the public health is threatened, South Carolina is ready to respond.

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 in the News: Flu, diabetes prevention, opioids

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

Aiken County still above state baseline for flu

Aiken County had a decrease in flu cases at the beginning of February, but for the week of Feb. 4 to 10, there were 632 lab-confirmed and positive rapid cases per 100,000 people, according to South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

There were 18,372 cases state-wide for that week, which is a decrease of 3.3 percent from the previous week, according to data provided by DHEC. There have been 99,791 cases during the entire flu season.

No excuses: RMC HealthPlex Diabetes Prevention Program changing lives for the better

As the second month of 2018 winds down, many of us are aggravated with ourselves for not sticking to our New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, exercise and lose weight.

One group of Orangeburg residents, however, were on track to reach those goals after attending their second week of the intensive 16-week Diabetes Prevention Class at the Regional Medical Center’s HealthPlex in Orangeburg. The program kicked off on Jan. 23.

General Interest

ER Reduces Opioid Use By More Than Half With Dry Needles, Laughing Gas

One of the places many people are first prescribed opioids is a hospital emergency room. But in one of the busiest ERs in the U.S., doctors are relying less than they used to on oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin and other opioids to ease patients’ pain.

In an unusual program designed to help stem the opioid epidemic, the emergency department at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., has been exploring alternative painkillers and methods. That strategy has led to a 58 percent drop in the ER’s opioid prescriptions in the program’s first year, according to numbers provided by St. Joseph’s Healthcare System’s chair of emergency medicine, Dr. Mark Rosenberg.

From Other Blogs: Vaccination and cancer, ALS, Winter Olympics & more

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

Vaccination Nation: A Real Shot at Preventing Cancer

Suppose someone tells you there are quick, easy ways to help keep people from getting some kinds of cancer. Would you believe it?

Luckily, you can. You already know vaccines stop you from getting dangerous diseases from bacteria and viruses. You don’t even realize you have some viruses because they may not cause any symptoms. But a few of them can lead to cancer if left untreated. — From The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) The Topic Is Cancer blog

National ALS Biorepository – A Component of the National ALS Registry

The National ALS Biorepository is a component of the National ALS Registry that will increase the number of biological samples from persons with ALS available for research.  These samples, along with the extensive epidemiologic data collected by the National ALS Registry, are a valuable resource in the fight to identify the causes of ALS. — From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment blog

Traveling to South Korea for the Olympics? Bring Back Great Memories, Not a Pest or Disease

The Winter Olympics begin shortly in South Korea, bringing us two weeks of incredible athletic performances. While many of us will watch the games from our TVs, computers or phones, some lucky individuals will travel to witness the games in person. And when traveling, people often bring back items as souvenirs or as gifts for those of us at home. If you are traveling to the Olympics (or anywhere outside the country), keep in mind there are rules about agricultural products being brought into the U.S. — From the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

USDA Agencies Band Together to Assist Producers Impacted by 2017 Hurricanes

Just as families, friends and communities came together to respond to damages that occurred during the hurricanes of 2017, so did government agencies.

When hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria made landfall, the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Risk Management Agency (RMA), Rural Development (RD), and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) worked together, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other intergovernmental groups, to provide information and recovery resources to agricultural producers who experienced losses. — From the USDA blog