• Happy Thanksgiving from the North Georgia Health District! Our district offices in Dalton will be closed Thanksgiving Day and Friday, November 23 and 24. All our Public Health Departments and services in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties will also be closed both days. Best wishes from us to you for a healthy and safe holiday!

Local Hepatitis C Prevalence Project underway



HepCTesting-md.jpgNORTH GEORGIA – Free Hepatitis C Testing is provided at county health departments in North Georgia!

As part of a statewide Hepatitis C prevalence initiative in Georgia, the North Georgia Health District is conducting the Hepatitis C Prevalence Project (HCPP), which is providing data on occurrences of Hepatitis C in the health district via free testing to those who are at higher risk of being infected with the virus. This is a two-step process that identifies and supports individuals who are living with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Hepatitis C is a contagious and sometimes persistent infection that can lead to lifelong liver disease. The Hepatitis C virus is mainly transmitted via contact with blood of an infected person. Most people are unaware they are infected because they don’t look or feel sick.

But the virus can be detected through blood tests.

Therefore, the first step in the district’s HCPP process is to identify HCV infected residents through free rapid Hepatitis C virus testing at health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties. These tests can produce a preliminary result in 20 minutes by using a finger stick test.

Anyone who falls within one or more of the following categories is at higher risk for HCV and is urged to take advantage of this free rapid Hepatitis C testing:

  • Born between 1945 and 1965
  • Past or present injection drug use
  • Sharing of any drug equipment
  • HIV positive
  • Blood transfusions prior to 1992
  • Clotting factors prior to 1987
  • Sexual partner of someone who is Hepatitis C positive
  • Tattoo or body piercing in an unprofessional setting

For clients who test positive in the first step, the second step is to confirm the results by drawing a blood sample that will be sent to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory for further testing.

Once a positive test result has been confirmed, each health department assists clients in linking to services in their area. Those that qualify can enroll in the Mono Infected Hepatitis C Treatment program at the Whitfield County Health Department.

All clients are also counseled on the importance of healthy habits (avoiding alcohol and drugs, including many over-the-counter drugs), ways to reduce spread of the virus, getting contacts tested, and getting assistance to reduce the risky behaviors that exposed them to Hepatitis C in the first place. And, though there currently is no vaccine for Hepatitis C, clients are counseled on getting vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B. 

Testing is offered Mondays through Thursdays at all county health departments in the North Georgia Health District. Test days will be affected by health department closings for events such as holidays and hazardous weather.

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“Sickly” raccoon in Ellijay tests positive for rabies

Sickly looking raccoonEllijay (GA) A raccoon that was recently found in a residential area of Ellijay in Gilmer County, Georgia has now tested positive for rabies.


The raccoon was out during the daytime on May 9 and appeared to be sickly as it wandered in the campground area of Coosawattee River Resort, a gated community in Ellijay. A resident, concerned about the danger the raccoon might have posed to people and pets in the neighborhood, shot the animal so it could be tested for rabies.

The raccoon was tested by the Georgia Department of Public Health Laboratory on May 10 and the positive results were reported on May 11.

There was no known human or domestic animal exposure to the raccoon.

Health officials are continuing to remind the public to avoid all wild animals and pet owners should maintain rabies vaccinations in their pets. If a pet receives an initial one-year vaccine, it can receive a three-year rabies vaccination on the following year.


Rabies is prevalent in wild animals such as raccoons and skunks but can be found in coyotes, foxes, bats, bobcats and other wild carnivores. Rodents and opossums are rarely found with rabies, but a bite from any wild mammal should cause concern and be reported to a healthcare provider and the local environmental health office.


Children should be warned to avoid contact with wild mammals and any stray dog or cat and to report any contact with these animals to an adult right away.

For more information about rabies and its prevention, log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.


Request for Proposals Due May 31, 2017

RFP image for blog postNORTH GEORGIA HEALTH DISTRICT - The Living Bridge Center is requesting proposals for 2 separate items: 1) The Installation of New Flooring, 2) Renovation/Construction in the building located at 1200 West Waugh, Suite A, in Dalton Georgia. Proposals will be evaluated to determine the most advantageous based on vendor experience and qualifications as well as total cost. Sealed proposals are due no later than 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Proposals are to be mailed or hand delivered to the attention of Stephen Tonya, Financial Operations & Services Manager of the North Georgia Health District - Please see attachments for all details, including mailing instructions and specifications.

Download this file (ATTACHMENT- RFP - Flooring 2-1 - 5-18-2017.PNG)RFP - Flooring: ATTACHMENT[Building Sketch]163 kB
Download this file (BUILDING SKETCH - RFP Renovations - 2 - 5-18-2017.PNG)RFP - Renovations: ATTACHMENT[Building Sketch]162 kB
Download this file (IMG_1173.PNG)List of Renovations for 1200 Waugh Street, Dalton, GA[ATTACHMENT]184 kB
Download this file (RFP - Flooring 2-1 - 5-18-2017.PNG)RFP - Flooring 2-1 - 5-18-2017[Proposal Details]359 kB
Download this file (RFP - Renovations - 2 - 5-18-2017.PNG)Renovations - 2 - 5-18-2017[Proposal Details]353 kB

Immunization is the Power to Protect Infants

National Infant Immunization Week starts April 22!

North GeorgiaGiving babies the recommended immunizations by age two is the best way to protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases.

NIIW2017The week of April 22-29, 2017 has been declared National Infant Immunization Week, and health departments within the North Georgia Health District in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties are helping to ensure that children are protected against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases by the age of two. The health departments not only provide these vaccines, but they also encourage parents to make vaccinating their children a priority and urge them to talk to family and friends about protecting their children with vaccines. Vaccines and all information are available at the local health department. Click on the LOCATIONS tab above to find the address and phone number for each of our county health departments.

Currently, the United States has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in its history.

Vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the United States and around the world, so continued vaccination is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks. Even when diseases are rare in the U.S., they can be brought into the country, putting unvaccinated children at risk.

Most parents vaccinate their children, resulting in high vaccine coverage rates in the U.S.

When people are unvaccinated, outbreaks of diseases like pertussis (whooping cough) and measles can—and do—return.

It is important to vaccinate children on time, according to the childhood immunization schedule, to provide the best protection early in life, when babies are vulnerable and before they are likely to be exposed to diseases.

Since 1994, National Infant Immunization Week has encouraged parents, caregivers, and health care professionals to participate in increasing the awareness of the importance of immunizing children before their second birthday. Refer to the Georgia Department of Public Health's website for immunization scheduling at https://dph.georgia.gov/immunization-schedules.


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