Healthy people, families, and communities.


Ellijay (GA) – Gilmer County Environmental Health officials announced today that a local male Siberian Husky came into contact with a raccoon that has now tested positive for rabies.


On February 7, the dog owner found the dog with the dead raccoon on Willard Mountain Road in the area of Big Creek and Doublehead Gap Roads near the Gilmer-Fannin County line.


There was no human exposure to the raccoon.


The raccoon was sent for rabies testing to the Georgia Department of Public Health Laboratory, and the positive results were returned on February 8.


The dog was current on its rabies vaccination; therefore, the only treatment required was a rabies booster shot and a 45-day observation period.


“This is a happy ending as opposed to what could have been a very unhappy one,” said Andrea Martin, Gilmer County Environmental Health Manager. “And it’s all due to the owners responsibly keeping their pet current on its rabies vaccination.”


Health officials urge residents to prevent the spread of rabies by maintaining current rabies vaccinations in their pets and by avoiding contact with all unfamiliar animals, both domestic and wild.


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

(ATLANTA) - Georgians have experienced their share of severe weather in recent yearts, with storms causing substantial damage, injury and even death. Statistics reveal weather-related events have killed at least 352 people in Georgia, including two in 2012, and injured countless others.

To encourage Georgians to better prepare for these types of disaster, Governor Nathan Deal has proclaimed the week of Feb. 4-8 as Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Throughout the week, Georgians are encouraged to set aside a few minutes each day to get ready for unexpected events, practice emergency response procedures for all types of severe weather and learn more about threats.

“In recent years, Georgia has experienced record flooding, tornadoes and wildfires,” said Charley English, director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA). “Urbanization and population growth increase the potential for these storms to impact more people and structures, so I encourage our citizens to become more aware of severe weather safety measures and to participate in the various awareness programs during Severe Weather Awareness Week.”

As part of the observation, GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign is urging people statewide to take some simple steps toward preparedness each day.

  • Monday, Feb. 4: Family Preparedness Day - Identify a family reconnection place and purchase a life-saving NOAA Weather Radio.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 5: Thunderstorm SafetyCheck your patio or yard to make sure there is nothing that could blow away during a storm; remove dead or rotting branches from your trees to prevent storm damage.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 6: Tornado Safety and Statewide Tornado Drill (issued by NWS) – Identify a safe place in your home where you could take shelter during a tornado.
  • Thursday, Feb. 7: Lightning Safety – Learn the 30/30 rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
  • Friday, Feb. 8 – Flood Safety (alternate drill date) – Make copies of important documents, seal them in a watertight container/bag and add them to your Ready kit.

Rabies VirusRabies VirusJasper (GA) — Jan Stephens of Pickens County Environmental Health recently announced that a local dog had to be euthanized after fighting with a rabies infected raccoon.

“When the raccoon wandered into the carport of a home in the Hobson Creek area on January 21, the homeowner’s dog fought with it and ran the raccoon up a tree,” said Stephens. “The owner then shot the raccoon and called our office the next day.”

The raccoon was sent to the Georgia Department of Public Health Laboratory for rabies testing, and the positive result was reported on January 23.

The dog was not vaccinated against rabies and it had puncture wounds on its neck as a result of the incident; therefore, the difficult decision to have the dog “put to sleep” was made on January 30.

No human exposure to this raccoon was reported.

Health officials urge the public to consult with their veterinarian to confirm that their pets are current on their rabies vaccinations.

For more information about rabies, please contact Pickens County Environmental Health at (706) 253-0900 or log onto

Ellijay (GA) A 7-year old male Boxer in Ellijay fought and killed a raccoon that has since tested positive for rabies. Because the dog was not current on its rabies vaccination, it is now undergoing a six-month strict quarantine.


There was no human exposure.


Gilmer County Environmental Manager Andrea Martin reported that the fight between the dog and the raccoon occurred on January 16, 2013 at a residence on Raspberry Court off Highway 382 in Ellijay.


The raccoon was tested for rabies at the Georgia Department of Public Health Laboratory on January 17, and the positive rabies result was reported on January 18.


Health officials urge residents to maintain current rabies vaccinations in their pets, not only for the sake of the pet, but to also protect themselves and their family from rabies.


Rabies that goes untreated is fatal almost 100 percent of the time.


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