Date of Award

Summer 8-5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Management and Decision Sciences


College of Business

First Advisor

Ellen Hayward


There are two types of rabies, known as furious and paralytic, that are both spread mostly through saliva of wild or domesticated animals via scratches and bites. Both types can ultimately result in death of the human victim, yet both are vaccine-preventable diseases. Transmission of the rabies disease to humans is usually found following a deep bite or scratch from an infected animal, and transmission to humans by rabid dogs accounts for up to 99% of human infection cases, though bats are now an increasing source of human death due to rabies as well. Surprisingly enough, human deaths following exposure to rabies from foxes, raccoons, skunks, jackals, mongooses and other wild carnivore host species are very rare, and bites from rodents are not known to transmit rabies.

Because rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease spread predominantly by infected dogs, the act of vaccinating dogs is the most effective strategy for preventing the spread of rabies to people. Unfortunately, infection rates worldwide reach tens of thousands each year and the population most affected are children under the age of fifteen. That being said, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), “education on dog behavior and bite prevention for both children and adults is found to be an essential extension of a rabies vaccination programme and can decrease both the incidence of human rabies and the financial burden of treating dog bites. Increasing awareness of rabies prevention and control in communities includes education and information on responsible pet ownership, how to prevent dog bites, and immediate care measures after a bite. Engagement and ownership of the programme at the community level increases reach and uptake of key messages” (WHO, Rabies, para. 5).

Furthermore, it is stated by the WHO that “although effective human vaccines and immunoglobulins exist for rabies, they are not readily available or accessible to those in need, so this increases the importance of vaccination for prevention at the animal level” (WHO, Rabies, para. 2). Altogether, more than 29 million people worldwide receive a post-bite vaccination annually, which prevents hundreds of thousands of rabies deaths per year. According to WHO, “Globally, the economic burden of dog-mediated rabies is estimated at US$ 8.6 billion per year” (WHO, Rabies, para. 3).

The key to the eradication of rabies in the United States is the collaborative effort of organizations like DHEC and the community to spread the knowledge needed to fight this fatal disease. DHEC could be even more effective in spreading awareness and preventing rabies transmission by tightening up its in-house operations, starting with the onboarding process for its employees.