For S.C. Healthcare Providers:
Reporting and Treating Animal Bites and Possible Rabies Exposures
Report All Cases Involving Animal Bites to DHEC
If you provide care for a patient who has been bitten by an animal – whether the animal involved is a pet, stray, farm animal, exotic pet or wild animal – you are required to report the name, age, gender, weight, address and telephone number of the person bitten to DHEC no later than the end of the next working day.
Report animal bites by calling your regional DHEC Environmental Health Services office.
We will use the information to contact your patient (or if patient is a minor, their parent) to gather information about the incident and the animal so that we can determine the most appropriate course of action.
(See Mandatory Reporting of Animal Bites, S.C. State Code of Laws Section 47-5-90.)
Treating Patients for Possible Exposure to Rabies
DHEC's medical staff can help you assess your patient's exposure risks and answer your questions about rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
Most animal exposures will not require PEP. Certainly, if the animal can be located for quarantine or testing, it may prevent unnecessary PEP.
- Consult with DHEC's medical staff to assess a patient's rabies exposure and/or learn more about rabies treatment.
- Follow the steps in the following treatment guides:
- Guide to Managing Animal Exposures and Rabies Postexposure Prophylaxis (DHEC)
- Use of a Reduced (4-Dose) Vaccine Schedule for Postexposure Prophylaxis to Prevent Human Rabies - United States 2010 - Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
- Rabies Information for Doctors (CDC)
Payment Assistance/Reimbursement for Rabies PEP
If your patients are insured by Medicaid, lack health insurance, and/or cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket costs for rabies PEP, please consult the following resources:
- Medicaid Bulletin - Clarification of Covered Rabies Procedure Codes (Sept 30, 2010) (pdf)
- Medicaid Bulletin - Coverage of Rabies Vaccine and Immune Globulin (Aug 14, 2010) (pdf)
- Sanofi Pasteur's Patient Assistance Program (providing Imogam® Rabies-HT and Imovax® Rabies as well as other vaccines) – Call 1 (866) 801-5655.
- Novartis' Patient Assistance Program for RabAvert® – Call 1 (800) 244-7668, or apply online at RabAvert® Patient Assistance Program.
DHEC Lab Services
- Read our guide to DHEC's lab services to learn about proper specimen collection, submission and packaging, fees, and tests offered.
Patient Handouts: Preventing Dog Bites
Pass these tips on to your patients to help them prevent dog bites in the future.
Prevent Dog Bites (DHEC)
For additional information, contact: (803) 896-0655 Fax (803) 896-0645