FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 27, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is partnering with health agencies across the globe on September 28 to observe World Rabies Day in an effort to end rabies.
World Rabies Day is an international campaign that seeks to raise awareness about rabies in order to enhance prevention and control efforts.
"Rabies is a deadly virus that impacts hundreds of South Carolinians every year," said Sandra Craig of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services. "It is transmitted when saliva or neural tissue of an infected animal is introduced into the body of a person or animal. This usually occurs through a bite. However, saliva contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies."
In 2011, South Carolina experienced its first human death from rabies in 53 years due to an unreported exposure to a rabid bat. Rabies in humans is preventable if treatment is provided promptly after exposure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports as many as 40,000 people in the United States receive rabies post-exposure treatment each year with annual public health costs ranging from $245 to $510 million.
"State law requires animal owners to have their dog, cat or ferret vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Keeping your pets up-to-date on rabies vaccinations is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect yourself, your family and your pets from this deadly disease," Craig said.
The key to prevention is to stay away from wild and stray animals and to keep your pets current on their rabies vaccinations.
To help increase awareness about the importance of rabies prevention, DHEC is hosting an original poster contest. Each poster must incorporate one of the specified rabies prevention slogans below. South Carolina residents can submit their posters for a chance to be included on DHEC's website, Facebook and Flickr.
|Keep Wild Animals Wild||Don't Wait - Vaccinate|
|Love Your Own - Leave Others Alone||Be Forthright - Report the Bite|
To learn more about the World Rabies Day Poster Contest, visit our website and join DHEC in the fight to #EndRabies. The poster winners will be unveiled on November 1.
Note to editors and reporters: DHEC has a brief high-resolution video featuring comments from Travis L. Shealy, DHEC's rabies program manager, to quote and use in your report. This video is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjPt4CTlq88.
DHEC Media Relations