Healthy people, families, and communities.


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.

Back to School Immunization ChildDalton (GA) - The Whitfield County Health Department is encouraging parents to get vaccines and health screenings needed for their children this month to beat the back-to-school rush! These services are offered on a walk-in basis, no appointment necessary, at the Whitfield County Health Department.

Children enrolling in any Georgia school, Pre-K, Kindergarten, or Child Care program must present a Certificate of Immunization (Form 3231). In addition, children enrolling in Pre-K, Kindergarten and any Georgia school must present Form 3300 (Certificate of Eye, Ear, and Dental Exam).

The health department’s Children’s Clinic Supervisor Angie Callaway, RN, BSN, stated, “The vaccine requirements differ depending on the age of the child. It is very important to check now to determine if your child needs vaccines and/or a certificate for school or child care entry.”

For example, children under five (5) who attend child care facilities (including Pre-K) must have two (2) doses of Hepatitis A (Hep A) vaccine or laboratory proof of immunity. All children entering sixth grade must have two doses of Measles vaccine, two doses of Mumps vaccine, and one dose of Rubella vaccine or laboratory proof of immunity against Measles, Mumps and Rubella and have two doses of Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine or provider diagnosed documentation of disease or laboratory proof of immunity.

Contact the Whitfield County Health Department at 706-226-2621 or your health care provider to obtain needed vaccinations, health screenings and required certificates.

Ellijay (GA) On June 24, a dog at a Gilmer County farm on Anderson Creek Road, located off Roy Road, fought with a raccoon that has now tested positive for rabies.

The dog was treated for multiple wounds to the face and head sustained during the fight, and the owner was referred to a physician to be evaluated for treatment because he had touched the dog’s wounds where saliva from the raccoon may have been present.

According to Gilmer County Environmental Health Manager Andrea Martin, the dog’s owner had been unable to break up the fight between the animals, so he shot the raccoon and took it to the VCA Appalachian Animal Hospital in East Ellijay. VCA prepared the raccoon for rabies testing and Martin shipped the specimen to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory on June 25. The lab reported the positive results for rabies on June 26.

Martin was pleased to announce that the dog was current on its rabies vaccination, which alleviates concerns about rabies infection in the animal.

“Since the dog's vaccination was current, the only recommendation we had to give was a booster shot and a 45-day observation period,” said Martin. “This is a much better outcome than when we’ve had to recommend either euthanasia or a strict, costly six-month quarantine because a rabies-exposed pet was not vaccinated.”
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It is vital that rabies vaccinations are regularly maintained in pets, not only for the safety of pets, but also for the protection of people who may handle them. Health officials recommend that pets receive the first rabies vaccination at 3-months old then another shot one year later. In subsequent years, owners have the option to provide pets with one-year or three-year rabies shots.

For more information about rabies, please contact Gilmer County Environmental Health at (706) 635-6050 or log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at