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Rabies in S.C.

DHEC's Role in Controlling Rabies in S.C.

DHEC's rabies control team includes physicians, veterinarians, scientists, rabies experts and public health investigators, inspectors and analysts. We:

  • Help physicians and veterinarians assess the likelihood of rabies exposure and need for treatment in cases involving animal bites or animal-inflicted wounds.
  • Investigate dog bite/wound incidents to learn as much as possible about the animal's vaccination/health history and the circumstances involved so that we can determine the most appropriate actions needed to protect public health. Each case involving pets or farm animals is different. In some we mandate vaccination of an animal and require a quarantine/observation period. In rare instances, we find that the only way we can truly protect public health is by requiring euthanasia and testing of brain tissue. Work with local veterinarians to organize an annual statewide series of low-cost rabies vaccine clinics, usually in the Spring.
  • Test animal brain tissue for the rabies virus.
  • Track all confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina and report the data to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Educate South Carolina citizens about the need to vaccinate their dogs, cats and ferrets.
  • Provide technical consultation to local rabies control programs.
  • Work with federal, state and local governments to control rabies following natural disasters.
  • Enforce the state's rabies laws and regularly evaluate, and propose revisions as needed.

For additional information, contact: (803) 896-0655 Fax (803) 896-0645