Healthy people, families, and communities.


Georgians can be affected by disasters at any time. Preparing for emergencies is essential.


The North Georgia Health District is collaborating with key partners to prepare our communities for emergencies ranging from natural disasters, such as severe weather, to potential public health crises, such as pandemic influenza. Likewise, individuals and families need to be ready for emergencies, and there is no better time to prepare than September, National Preparedness Month.


Just as community-wide emergency preparedness efforts are underway among district and local public health officials, emergency management agencies, emergency medical services, law enforcement, fire departments, hospitals, healthcare facilities, non-profit volunteer agencies, government agencies, schools, faith-based organizations and businesses in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties, families and individuals should also plan as though they will be without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or other local services for at least three days. Follow these steps:

On August 25 in Gilmer County, two male mixed-breed Labrador Retrievers fought and killed a raccoon that was later confirmed as positive for carrying the rabies virus.


Rabies VirusGilmer County Environmental Health Manager Andrea Martin said, “The incident took place five miles out Chatsworth Highway in the vicinity of Gates Chapel Road.”


The raccoon was prepared for rabies testing by the VCA Appalachian Animal Hospital in East Ellijay on August 26, and then Martin shipped the specimen to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory. The positive test result for rabies was reported on August 28.


Martin stated that, of the two dogs, only one is current on its rabies vaccination. For the vaccinated dog, the recommendation is that it be revaccinated and it is required that the dog be observed at home for 45 days. However, the second dog is not vaccinated and is over 10 years old; therefore, the owner is going to have it euthanized.


No human exposure was reported in this incident.


Health officials urge residents to maintain current rabies vaccinations in their pets.


Chatsworth Mayor Don Penland, with wife Barbara, rolls up his sleeve for a flu shot at last year's Drive-by in Murray CountyHealth departments throughout the North Georgia Health District will start conducting drive-by flu shot clinics in September.

The drive by flu shot clinics are specially designed to serve people safely, quickly and conveniently as they remain in their vehicles.

These clinics also offer an opportunity for North Georgia Health District health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties to test their ability to administer medications to the public quickly during a widespread public health crisis, such as pandemic influenza.

In addition to regular influenza vaccine, the high-dose form of Fluzone vaccine for people 65 and older will be offered at the drive-by clinics.

The cost for the regular flu shot will be $22, and the Fluzone high-dose shot will be $50. Cash, checks, Medicare, Medicaid and State Cigna and State United Healthcare Insurance will be accepted.

Now that the recent flood waters in our area have receded and the most immediate safety hazards have passed, it’s time to address the secondary health issues that can develop as the result of floodwater pollutants.

Be sure to protect your home, family and business by following these easy guidelines from Gilmer County Environmental Health.

CONTACT WITH FLOOD WATERS - Swimming and similar recreational water activities are not advised at this time. Flood waters contain large amounts of contaminants of all kinds. Many thousands of dead chickens have been washed into the streams and rivers. These fast flood waters will carry these contaminants downstream quickly but for now do not have contact with flood waters. Fishing and other non-contact activities are not affected by this advisory.

– Floors, walls, equipment and furniture that have been covered with flood waters should be cleaned and sanitized to kill any disease bacteria or viruses. Flood waters usually have sewage from over-running sewers and septic systems, manure and other contaminants. Wear gloves, eye protection and boots when working with contaminated areas and items. An easy sanitizing solution is made from a quarter cup of household bleach and one gallon of water. Items should be cleaned with soap and water, rinsed and then sanitized with the bleach solution. This will kill any disease germs and help prevent mold. Do not mix bleach with any ammonia product and work in well-ventilated areas.