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raccoon2Blue Ridge (GA) – The third case of rabies this year in Fannin County, Georgia – and the second in a raccoon – has been confirmed by the Georgia Public Health Laboratory, according to Fannin County Environmental Health officials.

Shannon Bradburn, local environmental health specialist, said a resident at a home about five miles south of Blue Ridge on Aska Road near Scenic Hollow Road, heard a commotion outside the home at approximately 11 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14. The resident investigated the noise and found a raccoon growling at two kittens that live on the property, so the resident shot and killed it.

The raccoon was prepared for shipment and sent to the state laboratory on Wednesday. Late Thursday afternoon, local environmental health officials received the report that the test results were positive for rabies.

Bradburn stated, “Our office contacted the homeowners, and though it seemed unlikely the young kittens had actually come into contact with the raccoon, they had not yet received their initial rabies vaccinations, so the owners decided to maintain both animals in strict double-penned enclosures.”

Instructions for constructing these enclosures were provided to the homeowners through a link on the North Georgia Health District’s website at

“We will be working with the residents over the next few days in ensuring that the pens are built to required specifications,” said Bradburn, “and we will be monitoring both animals over the next six months, which is the required period for quarantine.”

There was no human exposure, and though the home where the incident occurred is on a large tract of private land that is surrounded by U.S. Forest Service property and far away from other residents, local environmental health officials went to the nearest homes today to provide alert notifications and rabies informational materials.

National Infant Immunization Week is April 18 – April 25, 2015

North Georgia National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is April 18 – April 25, 2015, and North Georgia Health District 1-2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) urges residents to protect infants from vaccine-preventable diseases. We can all help by ensuring our little ones and everyone around them, are vaccinated and up-to-date on their immunization schedules.

“Vaccines are crucial to protecting children before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases,” said Sheila Lovett, Interim Director of the Georgia Immunization Program. “Immunization is a shared responsibility and we as parents, family, friends and health care providers can help keep our children and our communities protected by staying current on our immunization schedule. We urge parents to speak with their pediatrician or health care provider at every visit to make sure their infant is up-to-date on vaccinations.”

According to the most recent data available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Immunization Survey, Georgia immunization rates for Tdap were below the national average, ranking them 39th compared to other states. Similar to national trends, the number of pertussis cases in Georgia increased in 2014 with 396 pertussis cases reported to DPH compared to the 269 cases reported in 2013. Of those 396 pertussis cases reported in 2014, 99 (26.8%) were infants < 12 months of age.

NIIW is a call to action for parents, caregivers and health care providers to ensure that infants are fully vaccinated against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases.

Please see the following recommended immunization schedule for young children:

Infant Immunization Schedule as of 2015

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

* Two doses given at least four weeks apart are recommended for children aged 6 months through 8 years of age who are getting a flu vaccine for the first time and for some other children in this age group.

§ Two doses of HepA vaccine are needed for lasting protection. The first dose of HepA vaccine should be given between 12 months and 23 months of age. The second dose should be given 6 to 18 months later. HepA vaccination may be given to any child 12 months and older to protect against HepA. Children and adolescents, who did not receive the HepA vaccine and are at high-risk, should be vaccinated against HepA.

*Please note that due to the threat of severe weather on Saturday, April 25, the Community Disaster Awareness Day event has been cancelled.*

Public is urged to participate during three-day event!

WhitPrepareAthonBanner-webDalton (GA) - Whitfield Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is partnering with FEMA, GEMA, National Weather Service, Whitfield County Local Emergency Planning Committee, and WDEF-TV, to sponsor Whitfield’s PrepareAthon! Weekend, an innovative communitywide emergency preparedness campaign designed by FEMA.

Whitfield is the first county in Georgia to hold such a PrepareAthon!, with three days of special events starting Friday, April 24 through Sunday, April 26 to increase community emergency preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific drills, group discussions, and exercises.

    • Friday, April 24, schools and businesses will conduct tornado drills.
    • *Saturday, April 25 – the Community Disaster Awareness Day event will be held from 10 am – 2 pm at Home Depot at 875 Shugart Road in Dalton.*
    • Sunday, April 26 – Whitfield EMA will work with faith-based organizations to get them prepared.


To have your organization participate in a tornado drill that Friday or in the faith-based events that Sunday, sign up at

WDEF-TV’s Chief Meteorologist Patrick Core is working with Whitfield EMA to promote the PrepareAthon! in Whitfield.

Unvaccinated dog euthanized


raccoonMorganton (GA) – The second case of rabies in Fannin County this year was confirmed late yesterday afternoon in a raccoon that had attacked a dog in its pen in Morganton.


An employee of the Appalachian Animal Hospital in Ellijay called the Fannin County Environmental Health office on Monday, April 6, to report that a Morganton resident, living on Old Highway 76 near Loving Road, had found the raccoon in the pen at the residence at around 7 A.M. on Saturday, April 4. The raccoon escaped the pen, but the resident shot it and immediately brought the body to the animal hospital.


The owner discovered the dog had received a scratch on its nose.


A Fannin County Environmental Health official picked up the raccoon on Monday and shipped the specimen to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory for rabies testing.


The following day, Tuesday, April 7, the lab reported the test results were positive for rabies.


Because the dog was not current on its rabies vaccination, the owner had it euthanized later that evening.


No human exposure was reported.