Tag Archives: vaccines

DHEC in the News: Tracking West Nile, HIV rates, flu

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

DHEC: Submitting dead birds can help track West Nile virus in SC

COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is asking residents to send dead birds to their local DHEC offices to help officials track the West Nile virus.

DHEC is asking people to send crows, blue jays, house finches, and house sparrows they find dead as part of the dead bird surveillance program.

General Interest

CDC reports HIV rates are highest in the South

HUNTSVILLE Ala. — HIV rates are declining in the United States due to prevention efforts and awareness, except for in the Deep South. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say southern cities now have the highest rates of new infections nationwide.

A Second Wave of Flu May Be On the Way, CDC Warns

The bulk of this year’s deadly flu season was dominated by the H3N2 virus, an influenza A strain that is more severe and less receptive to vaccines than other types of the disease. As the season winds down, however, influenza B has overtaken influenza A, setting the scene for a possible second wave of flu, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) data.

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

Vaccines aren’t just for children; everyone should get them

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and the South Carolina Legislature has designated August 14-21, 2017 as South Carolina Immunization Week.

It is important that everyone get immunized to help protect against disease and even prevent some cancers. Vaccines are recommended for everyone throughout our lives.

If you are a State Health Plan primary member, you can get vaccines to arm you against many diseases at no cost to you. The Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) perk includes flu, shingles, tetanus, pneumonia, HPV shots and more. In fact, all the adult vaccines the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends for your age range, health conditions and risk factors are available at no cost to you at a network provider.

Vaccines are one of the safest ways to protect not just your own health, bu​t the health of those around you. Make sure you check with your health care provider to see which vaccines offer you your best shot at a healthy future.

For more information on what immunizations you and your family need, visit cdc.gov/vaccines.

 

There Are Ways to Make Your Child’s Shots Less Stressful

LaDonna White, RN, MSN
Nurse Consultant
Immunization Division

Vaccines help protect babies and young children against 14 serious diseases before their 2nd birthday. Even though you are keeping her safe from diseases, it’s hard to see your child cry when she gets her shots. But you can take some steps before, during and after a vaccine visit to ease the short-term pain and stress of getting shots.

That’s where parents come in: What you say and do before, during and after their immunization appointment can help calm a child, allay their fears and make the immunization visit less stressful on you both.

Read about the shots your child will get in advance. “CDC has a lot of useful information to help parents understand the importance of on-time vaccination,” said Dr. Candice Robinson, a pediatrician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “You can review this information before your appointment, and then, you can ask your child’s doctor any remaining questions you have about vaccines.” The more informed you are about vaccinations, the better you may feel.

You may also want to bring your child’s vaccine record to show the doctor, and pack a favorite toy, book, blanket or other comfort item to keep your child occupied at the visit. For older children, shots can pinch or sting, but not for long. Remind them that shots help keep them healthy.

The CDC suggests trying the following tips during the vaccine visit to support your child before, during and after shots:

For babies and younger children

  • Distract and comfort your child by cuddling, singing or talking softly.
  • Smile and make eye contact with your child. Let your child know that everything is OK.
  • Comfort your child with a favorite toy or book. A blanket that smells familiar will help your child feel more comfortable.
  • Hold your child firmly on your lap, whenever possible.

For older children and adolescents

  • Take deep breaths with your child to help “blow out” the pain.
  • Point out interesting things in the room to help create distractions.
  • Tell or read stories. Remember to pack their favorite book!
  • Support your child if he or she cries. Never scold a child for not “being brave.”

For more information about how to make the immunization visit less stressful, go to cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/visit   

National Immunization Awareness Month

By Teresa Foo, MD, MPH
Medical Consultant
Divisions of Immunization and Acute Disease Epidemiology

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). Immunizations represent one of the greatest public health accomplishments of the 20th century. The purpose of NIAM is to celebrate the benefits of vaccination and highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages.

Vaccines prevent diseases and keep us healthy.

The need for vaccination does not end in childhood.  Vaccines are actually recommended throughout our lives. Did you know that every year, tens of thousands of adults in the United States suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, or even die from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccination?

Here are four important things to remember not only during National Immunization Awareness Month, but throughout the year.

  • Vaccines protect against serious diseases. Immunizations not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases.
  • These diseases still exist and outbreaks do occur. Vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles still circulate in the United States and around the world, so continued vaccination is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks. It’s easy for a disease to spread when it reaches communities where groups of people are unvaccinated.
  • Vaccines are recommended for people of all ages. Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives based on age, lifestyle, occupation, travel locations, medical conditions and previous vaccination history.
  • Babies receive vaccinations that help protect them from 14 diseases by age 2. It is very important that babies receive all doses of each vaccine, as well as receive each vaccination on time. After age 2, children are still recommended to receive a yearly flu vaccine. Children will also be due for additional doses of some vaccines between 4 and 6 years of age. Following the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health.
  • Vaccines are also needed for children as they grow to be preteens, teens and young adults. Childcare facilities, preschool programs, schools and colleges are prone to outbreaks of infectious diseases. When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others in their play groups, childcare centers, classrooms and communities – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.
  • Preteens and teens need four vaccines to protect against serious diseases:
    • quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis and blood infections (septicemia);
    • HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV;
    • Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis); and
    • a yearly flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu.
  • Adults need vaccines too. Even healthy adults can become seriously ill, and can pass certain illnesses on to others. Certain vaccines are recommended based on a person’s age, occupation or health conditions.
    • All adults, including pregnant women, should get the influenza (flu) vaccine each year. Every adult should have one dose of Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis or whooping cough) if they did not get Tdap as a teen, and then get the Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster vaccine every 10 years. In addition, pregnant women are recommended to get the Tdap vaccine each time they are pregnant, preferably at 27-36 weeks.
  • Vaccines are very safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Data shows that the current U.S. vaccine supply is the safest in history.” Get more information on vaccine safety at gov/vaccinesafety. The United States has a long-standing vaccine safety program that closely monitors the safety of vaccines. Scientists conduct various studies to ensure vaccine safety.

Remember, immunization isn’t just for children, it’s for all of us. Talk to your doctor or other health care provider about what vaccines you or your child need.

For more information about vaccines visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/ or www.scdhec.gov/health/vaccinations.