Another Whitfield County Skunk Tests Positive for Rabies

Health officials urge residents to vaccinate their animals

dog-gets-skunked-framed-smDalton (GA) A Whitfield County resident observed stray dogs interacting with a skunk on Boyles Mill Road in the northeast section of the county on Monday, December 12 and contacted officials the next day after seeing a media report about rabies in the area. The resident was not close enough to the stray dogs to give a specific description.


Whitfield Animal Control responded to the call and found a dead skunk in about the same location. Since the skunk almost certainly had contact with the stray dogs, it was shipped to the Georgia State Public Health Laboratory, which confirmed on Wednesday, December 14 that the skunk had rabies.

There was no human exposure to rabies reported in this incident.

Residents in the northern parts of Whitfield and Murray Counties are strongly advised to be aware of wild mammals behaving aggressively, appearing sick or otherwise behaving in an abnormal manner. Children should be taught to avoid stray dogs, cats and wild mammals.

Pet owners should make sure their cats and dogs are currently vaccinated against rabies. When rabid wild animals come near a home, pets usually have first contact with them. So when pets are vaccinated against rabies, pet owners and their families are also better protected. Unvaccinated dogs or cats that have been bitten by a rabid animal are recommended to be destroyed or placed in very strict quarantine for six months.


Persons who own livestock in these areas should have farm animals with which they have close contact vaccinated against rabies and be aware that all livestock are susceptible to rabies. A cow in another part of north Georgia was recently found to have rabies resulting in anti-rabies treatments for several persons.

For more information about rabies and its prevention, contact your local Environmental Health office (contact information is at or log onto


rabid skunk-web2North Georgia Recently in northern Murray and Whitfield Counties, there have been several incidents of wild skunks chasing humans and pets.


A skunk on River Road in Murray County and a skunk on Riverdale Road in north Whitfield County have been confirmed as rabid.


Another Murray County skunk from Mantooth Road in Crandall is being tested but is probably rabid, as well.


Skunks normally avoid people and are mostly nocturnal. When skunks, raccoons and similar wild animals are visible during daylight hours, they may have rabies.


Rabid animals may be aggressive like these skunks have been, or they may seem sick, disoriented and lethargic.


Wildfires to the east of Crandall may be forcing wild animals out of their normal habitats.


Please make certain pets are currently vaccinated against rabies and have them revaccinated if they are not. Rabies is a deadly virus that can be transmitted to humans through the saliva of infected animals.


All hoofed livestock are susceptible to rabies. Vaccinating whole herds of animals against rabies is not usually practical, but we recommend vaccination for livestock that have close human contact, such as show cows and all horses. Any livestock showing neurological symptoms should be evaluated by your veterinarian for rabies.


The Murray County Sheriff’s Department will be sponsoring an emergency Rabies Vaccination Clinic to be held Saturday, December 3rd from 10 am to 4 pm at the Murray County Animal Shelter, located at 571 Highway 52 East, Chatsworth. Dr. Emily Felker, DVM, will be administering the rabies vaccinations. The cost is $15 cash for a one-year vaccination.


For more information about rabies and its prevention, contact the local county Environmental Health office or log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at

Traveling Abroad this Winter? YOU need the latest info on Zika!

Zika Virus Information for Travelers from the Georgia Department of Public Health

DPH Logo SmallThe World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The Georgia Department of Public Health cautions travelers, especially women who are pregnant, to protect themselves againstZikaVirusBanner-Protect-Prevent-small bites when heading to countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. 

There are urgent concerns about Zika virus infection and pregnant women. Zika virus infections have been confirmed in infants with microcephaly and in the current outbreak in Brazil, a marked increase in the number of infants born with microcephaly has been reported. Pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant should not travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

For more information about Zika virus, please review the resources on this page, especially the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

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Zika Guidance for Pregnant Women
Zika Prevention
EPA Registered Insects Repellents
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Zika testing guidance for physicians and laboratories

Zika Guidance for Physicians/Healthcare Providers (UPDATED 8/02/16)

Zika virus testing -- what laboratorians need to know (UPDATED 8/02/16)   Dr. Fitzgerald Zika Video                


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Zika Precautions Urged for GA Travelers

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Message from the North Georgia Health District: Contact our Gilmer County International Travel Clinic for ALL your travel health needs, including information regarding Zika virus and how to best protect against it when planning your journey. Click on the travel clinic icon.
As of Jan. 17, 2017, there are 111 confirmed travel-related Zika cases in Georgia - Confirmed Zika cases by county
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