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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2012

DHEC rabies vaccination clinics set

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Veterinarians across South Carolina will join forces this spring with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control to help residents protect their pets and themselves against rabies.

"Participating veterinarians will conduct rabies clinics to vaccinate pet dogs, cats and ferrets against this fatal disease," said Sue Ferguson, of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health. "Vaccination fees might vary by clinic site, but no vet participating in these clinics will charge more than $10 per pet.

"Rabies is a threat to pets, wild animals and humans, so all pet owners should have their dogs, cats and ferrets vaccinated as required by state law," Ferguson said. "The contribution of local veterinarians to this annual effort provides a valuable public service to our citizens. More than 29,000 pets were vaccinated against rabies during the clinics last year."

According to Ferguson, each year nearly 275 South Carolinians are recommended by a physician to undergo preventive treatment after being bitten by a rabid or suspected rabid animal.

"Rabies is fatal once the virus reaches the brain," Ferguson said. "The most effective way to protect pets and humans from this disease is to have all dogs and cats vaccinated.”

DHEC statistics show that, in 2011, there were 107 positive cases of rabies confirmed in animals in the state, including 58 raccoons, 20 skunks, 19 foxes, five cats, four bats and one dog. No cases of rabies were confirmed last year in Allendale, Bamberg, Edgefield, Georgetown, Hampton, Marion, Marlboro, McCormick or Union counties. However, positive rabies cases have been reported in every South Carolina county during the last decade.

For dates, times and locations of DHEC-sponsored rabies vaccination clinics and additional information on rabies, visit the agency's website at: http://www.scdhec.gov/rabies.

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For media inquiries:
Adam Myrick – (803) 898-3884
Email – myrickar@dhec.sc.gov
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