High Risk Situations
If you are in a job or situation that puts you at higher risk of coming into contact with rabies, you may want to talk to your doctor about getting a pre-exposure rabies vaccine. High risk groups include:
- People working with rabies in a lab setting
- Animal control and wildlife officers
- Agricultural specialists
- Biologists who work closely with wild or domesticated animals
- International travelers visiting countries where rabies is widespread, especially those who will be staying more than 1 month and those who will be visiting remote areas where it's difficult to get medical care.
A pre-exposure vaccination will not eliminate the need for additional medical therapy if you are exposed to rabies. But it will eliminate the need for rabies immune globulin, a treatment ingredient not always available in other countries.
The pre-exposure rabies vaccine will also decrease the number of vaccine doses you would need if exposed. And it may offer some measure of protection should you not be able to get medical help right away or if you are ever exposed to rabies but don't realize it initially — through a bat bite while sleeping, for example.
DHEC's public health clinics do not offer a pre-exposure rabies vaccine. You will need to arrange vaccination through your employer or personal physician.
For additional information, contact: (803) 896-0655 Fax (803) 896-0645