Healthy people, families, and communities.


Woodstock (GA) A Woodstock man is being treated for rabies exposure after a stray cat bit him. The cat has now tested positive for rabies. 

According to Cherokee County Environmental Health officials, the man was attacked on December 1 as he responded to sounds of cats fighting outside his home in a neighborhood near the intersection of Hickory Flat Highway and Creek Hollow Drive. A white and gray cat he had often fed was there and it started rubbing against his legs. However, the cat suddenly became aggressive and bit him. The cat ran away, but when it returned, the man shot it.
Stock photo of rabid catRabid cat
(Stock photo, only - not the cat in this story)

The incident was reported to environmental health on December 6 and the cat was shipped to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory that same day. The lab reported the positive test results for rabies on December 10.

The Woodstock man who was bitten began post rabies exposure treatment immediately after the incident. Treatment for post rabies exposure consists of one shot of rabies immune globulin and four shots of rabies vaccine administered over a two-week period.

Rabies is almost always deadly in humans who contract it and do not receive treatment. People must recognize the exposure and promptly get appropriate medical treatment before developing rabies symptoms.


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(GA) - Fannin County Environmental Health officials announced today that three Morganton dogs were exposed to a raccoon, which has now been confirmed as positive for rabies. The dogs' owner may have been exposed, as well.

Environmental Health Specialist Shannon Bradburn said a local veterinary office called him on December 10 to report they were treating three dogs for wounds received the day before in a fight with a raccoon at a residence on Old Dial Road in Morganton. The veterinary office advised that none of the dogs were current on their rabies vaccinations.

The dogs' owner had intervened in the fight by killing the raccoon, and in the process, the man received a cut to his hand.

Bradburn immediately arranged for the raccoon to be picked up and shipped to the state lab and was notified on December 11 that the raccoon tested positive for rabies.

*Consequently, the decision was made to have the three unvaccinated dogs euthanized and their owner has begun post rabies exposure treatment.

Additionally, Fannin County Environmental Health staff are canvassing the area near the Old Dial Road residence and are handing out pamphlets regarding actions to take in case of potential rabies exposure.

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

According to Raymond King, Director of Environmental Health for the North Georgia Health District, "Even the most trivial bite or scratch from a rabies-infected animal can transmit the rabies virus and warrants post exposure treatment; therefore, if you think it's even possible that exposure to a rabid animal has occurred to you or your pet, call your healthcare provider or veterinarian immediately."

Dalton (GA) -The holiday season is here, and as long as flu viruses are spreading and sick-santa-300x225Don't exchange the flu during the holidays!
causing illness, you want to make sure it's not the flu you're exchanging with loved ones and friends for the holidays.

It's not too late to arm against the flu, and a flu shot can help provide protection.

According to the latest CDC Flu activity report, influenza levels are currently increasing across the country. And since flu activity doesn't usually peak until February in the United States and can last as late as May, it is important for anyone who has not been vaccinated to get a shot now.

Flu vaccine is available at all county health departments in the North Georgia Health District, including Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties. For office hours, call the health department nearest you (phone numbers are listed below) or log onto the North Georgia Health District website at and click on the 'Locations' tab.

In addition to protecting yourself against the flu by getting vaccinated, the Georgia Department of Public Health urges you to also wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid rubbing your eyes or nose with your hands, and cover your coughs and/or sneezes with a tissue or cough into your sleeve, not your hands.

If you do get the flu, get plenty of rest, drink lots of liquids, reduce fever with a non-aspirin pain reliever, and stay home to avoid spreading the flu to others.

For more flu information, log onto

North Georgia Health District County Health Departments:
Cherokee: Canton (770) 345-7371 / Woodstock (770) 928-0133

Fannin (706) 632-3023           Gilmer (706) 635-4363           Murray (706) 695-4585

Pickens (706) 253-2821
         Whitfield (706) 279-9600

The North Georgia Health District Speakers Bureau

Welcome to the North Georgia Health District (NGHD) Speakers Bureau! We have made it easy and convenient to request a local public health lecturer, keynote speaker or representative for events from among members of our Speakers Bureau Team.

Public health topics we speak on range from health screenings to nutrition assistance to preparing individuals and communities for disasters. We cover everything from flu shots to WIC services, to vital records.

To request a speaker, please complete this simple online form  and we will immediately follow up with you.

Here are the public health topics we regularly address.

Who are we?

North Georgia Health District 1-2, based in Dalton, is one of 18 districts under the Georgia Department of Public Health. This district provides administrative support to public health departments and environmental health offices in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties.

The health district, county health departments and environmental health offices coordinate public health services and programs to serve almost 430,000 people in North Georgia.

Improving the quality of people's lives through disease preventatives, healthy lifestyle education and emergency preparedness is part of our public health vision and mission here in North Georgia.

How does public health affect individuals, families and communities?

Infectious Diseases: Through the health district’s Infectious Diseases Department and our county health employees, the prevention of epidemics and spread of diseases in your community is ongoing.

Communicable diseases: Communicable diseases such as TB, Hepatitis, HIV, Norovirus, Lyme Disease, Giardia, Pertussis, Salmonella, and Rabies are reported to the Infectious Diseases office for investigation. Public health staff, locally and at the state level, monitors the health status of the community to identify outbreaks and epidemics and how to best provide preventive measures.

Anyone who may have been exposed to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) such as Chlamydia, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and/or HIV may receive education, testing, counseling, treatment and referral to appropriate specialists.

Those living with HIV are served by a health district administered program called The Living Bridge Center, provider of Ryan White Part B and Part C. Funded services include: outpatient HIV ambulatory care, primary care, and sub-specialty medical care; medical case management and adherence; oral health; non-medical case management; individual and group level mental health and substance abuse outpatient counseling; consumer advisory services; laboratory and nutritional services; pharmaceutical assistance; linguistic services; medical transportation; and, HIV counseling, testing, and prevention services.

Immunizations: The prevention of disease and its spread are made possible through our life-saving immunizations to children and adults for influenza and other vaccine preventable diseases, including state required vaccinations for school registration.

Environmental Health: Our Environmental Health employees provide a wide variety of services, including inspections of hotels, restaurants, swimming pools and body art establishments; issuance of septic system permits; investigation of mosquito-borne diseases; collaboration of animal testing for rabies; lead investigations and education, and much more. Click here to access the Health Inspection Search Tool on our website to check the most recent health scores for restaurants in our six counties.

Emergency Preparedness: Through the North Georgia Health District's Emergency Preparedness Department, local plans are in place to respond to terrorism, natural disasters and other public health emergencies. Ongoing county, district and state public health emergency preparations are coordinated with community partners, including city and county governments, law enforcement, hospitals, healthcare facilities, schools, businesses, Emergency Medical Services, each county's Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and the counties' emergency operations centers.

Health Screenings: Public health promotes and encourages healthy behaviors and injury prevention through health screenings, including physical exams and screenings for breast and cervical cancer; family planning services and education; prenatal care; pregnancy tests; and, children's car seat safety education.

Women’s Health: County health department clinics provide comprehensive services for well women, including physical exams, breast and cervical cancer screening, family planning services and education, prenatal care and pregnancy tests.

Children’s Health: The Children's Clinic provides healthcare services to children from birth to 21 years of age. It is our goal to give children the best care available by providing services by an experienced and dedicated staff. These services include:

  •  Complete well child physicals
  •  Immunizations for children
  •  Immunizations for child caregivers
  •  Limited acute care for children
  •  Hearing, vision and dental screenings
  •  Car seat education program
Children with Special Needs: Children’s programs, based in the North Georgia Health District office and serving eligible residents throughout the health district, are Children’s Medical Services, Babies Can’t Wait and Children 1st.

-    Children’s Medical Services works to provide healthy outcomes for local children from birth to 21 years of age who have special healthcare needs, but their families are unable to afford this type of care. Children’s Medical Services coordinates access for these families and their children to affordable, quality specialty healthcare in areas such as hearing, neurology, cardiac services, orthopedics and genetic counseling.

-    Babies Can't Wait provides a coordinated, comprehensive system of services for infants and toddlers from birth to age three who have been identified as having special needs related to developmental delays and chronic health conditions.

-    Children 1st identifies children from birth to five years of age who are at risk for poor health and developmental outcomes. Children 1st serves as the single point of entry for these children to be connected with other public health programs and community services. Moreover, Children 1st provides follow-up services through the Universal Newborn Hearing, Screening and Intervention (UNHSI) program. Services through the UNHSI program include education and links to community resources for families of newborns that have failed a hearing test.

Women, Infants and Children (WIC): WIC services range from providing vouchers for healthy food purchases, tips on healthy meal choices and preparation for young children and mothers, nutritional support of breastfeeding moms and pregnant women to referrals to doctors, dentists, and programs such as Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Dental Clinic: The health district has a progressive, state-of-the art dental clinic and mobile van that provides basic dental care for children. These services are targeted toward children who have limited or no access to dental care and offers routine cleanings, exams, x-rays, fillings and extractions as well as sealants, space maintainers, baby tooth root canals, dental health programs for schools, dental screenings and referrals, and emergency care. The local Public Health Children’s Dental Clinic is in the Whitfield County Health Department at 800 Professional Boulevard in Dalton.

Medical Access Clinic: The Medical Access Clinic is located at the Whitfield County Health Department. The Medical Access Clinic, also known as MAC, is an adult primary care clinic that provides physical examinations, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and management of acute and chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, thyroid disorders, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and neuropathy. The Medical Access Clinic is available in Whitfield County due to the combined efforts of the local community and the health district. 

MedBank: MedBank Clinics in Murray and Whitfield Counties help eligible clients secure prescription drugs from patient-assistance programs offered through participating pharmaceutical companies.

Vital Records: Vital Records services are available in our Cherokee, Gilmer and Whitfield County Health Departments for residents needing assistance in obtaining birth and death certificates. 

International Travel Clinic:The Gilmer County International Travel Clinic is based in the Gilmer County Health Department in Ellijay and provides comprehensive health services that travellers need before leaving for faraway lands.

Tobacco Prevention and Cessation: We conduct tobacco prevention and cessation education to warn people against the dangers of tobacco usage and secondhand smoke through mass broadcasting, health fairs and public presentations. We promote the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line (1-877-270-STOP) where tobacco cessation support is available to callers 24 hours every day, and we encourage businesses, schools, agencies and organizations to adopt 100% tobacco-free policies.