Skip to content

World Rabies Day

World Rabies Day is September 28 and is an international effort to raise awareness about rabies prevention. Rabies is a deadly virus that kills humans, pets, and wildlife across the globe.


Join us in the fight to #EndRabies by keeping your pets (dogs, cats and ferrets) up-to-date on their rabies vaccination. You can also vaccinate livestock such as horses, cows and sheep. This not only protects your animal, it protects you and your family from this deadly virus.  You can keep your animals up-to-date with their rabies vaccine by visiting your veterinarian, or you can attend a low-cost mobile clinic.

Here are some links to low-cost mobile clinic schedules serving communities across South Carolina:

If you operate a low-cost rabies vaccination clinic and would like to be linked on this page, please email

Pets / Not Pets

Another great way to safeguard against rabies is to avoid wild animals, particularly wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild, and to educate your family and friends on the dangers of handling unknown animals. Encourage children to tell an adult if they have been bitten or scratched by an animal. Be sure to report animal exposures to your local DHEC Environmental Health Services office.

#EndRabies Photo Contest!

We need you and your pet’s help to raise awareness about rabies prevention. Send in photos of your vaccinated pets or livestock to to be included in DHEC’s World Rabies Day photo album and for a chance to win prizes!

Deadline to enter photos is midnight September 27, 2016. Optional: When you submit your pictures include your pet’s name and hometown.

DHEC’s World Rabies Day photo album will be featured on the agency’s official Facebook and Flickr pages on September 28.


Three random winners will be selected on September 30 to win prizes for their vaccinated furry companion. Thank you to Pet Supplies Plus on Harden Street in Columbia for donating $10, $20 and $30 gift cards as prizes for the contest! Get your friends to like and comment on your photo on our Facebook album to increase your chances of winning.

If selected, you will receive an email from us with information on how to collect your prize.

If your company or organization would like to donate a prize, please email

Photo album entry rules and disclaimer

You must be 18 years or older.   

You must live in South Carolina.

Pets and livestock must be current on their rabies vaccinations.

DHEC employees and their immediate family are not eligible for the prizes

Do not submit a photograph taken by a professional photographer. 

Do not submit a photograph of someone else or someone else’s pet.

Please submit only still photos, no videos. If the photo you submit includes an image of you and/or your child, you are consenting to and authorizing DHEC to publish this image of you and/or your child for the purposes stated here.  

By submitting a photograph, you agree to grant DHEC a non-exclusive license to reproduce, use, display, and distribute your photograph without regard to any copyright, trademark, service mark, patent, trade secret, or other proprietary rights you may have in such information. You further agree that you will not submit a photograph that would infringe any copyright or other proprietary rights. You agree we may use your photo, including your image or your child's image, on our social and web platforms (for example, Facebook and Flickr) for the purpose of educating the public about rabies. DHEC assumes no responsibility for any republication or other use of your photos by others not under our control.

All submitted photos will be reviewed; a photo submission is not a guarantee that the photograph will be included in the photo album. We reserve the right to decide which photos to post on Facebook, other social platforms or the DHEC website.

World Rabies Day is co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and the Alliance for Rabies Control (ARC).

Rabies in South Carolina

Rabies (Lyssavirus) is a deadly animal virus that attacks nerves in the spinal cord and brain. The virus can be passed to a healthy animal or a person if saliva from an animal with late-stage rabies gets into a wound or cut.

In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in:

  • Raccoons
  • Foxes
  • Skunks
  • Bats
  • It is also common in coyotes.

Rabies is almost never seen in squirrels, opossums, mice, rabbits and chipmunks.

Each year, from 15,000 to 39,000 Americans are vaccinated for rabies as a precaution after being bitten by animals – mostly unvaccinated dogs.

U.S. Death Rate Low Thanks to Vaccines

Very few Americans die from rabies – on average, only 1-2 per year since 1990.

In less developed parts of the world, it's different. About 50,000 people – most of them children – die from rabies annually.

The U.S. death rate from rabies is low thanks to pet vaccination campaigns and highly effective human rabies vaccinations for those who come in contact with rabies. Some states have also started vaccinating wild animal populations through vaccine-laced food.

By keeping your pet's rabies vaccination up to date, you help protect yourself, your family and your neighbors.

Health Care Providers and Veterinarians:

Report Animal Bites to DHEC

If you're bitten or scratched by a wild, stray or unvaccinated animal care for the wound properly and contact your health care provider. The health care provider is required to report the incident to DHEC.

If your child is bitten and you do not seek medical treatment for the wound, you are required to contact your regional DHEC Environmental Health Services office to report the bite by the end of the following business day.