Healthy people, families, and communities.


ImmuForFam.jpgNorth Georgia August is a busy month: planning the last family vacation, back-to-school shopping, registering for classes, moving off to college and looking forward to family reunions and the holiday season. Recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), North Georgia Health District 1-2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) reminds Georgians to stay up-to-date and get a head start on vaccinations required for school.
“August is a great time of year to engage the community regarding vaccinations”, said Sheila Lovett, director of the Georgia Department of Public Health Immunization Office. “There is a lot of publicity about preparing kids for school. It’s the perfect reminder to make vaccinations a priority for both adults and students.”
In fact, county health departments throughout the North Georgia Health District have conducted back-to-school health clinics offering screenings and vaccinations to prepare children for school, and health departments in Cherokee (refer to clinic announcements under our NEWS tab), Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties continue to provide these services during normal business hours.
However, as important as it is for children to remain current on their vaccinations, adults should also maintain a vaccination schedule.
Every adult in Georgia (19 years and older) should follow the recommended immunization schedule by age and medical condition. Vaccinations protect you and they protect others around you; especially infants and those individuals who are unable to be immunized or who have weakened immune systems. It is always a good idea to have the adult vaccine schedule nearby as a reference and to make sure you are current on your own immunizations. Link here to the recommended adult immunization schedule.
Students born on or after January 1, 2002 and entering the seventh-grade need proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster and adolescent meningococcal vaccinations. Every child in a Georgia school system (kindergarten – 12th grade), attending a child care facility, or a student of any age entering a Georgia school for the first time is required by law to have a Georgia Immunization Certificate, Form 3231. Below are the immunizations required for child care and school attendance:
    • Diptheria
    • Tetanus
    • Pertussis
    • Polio
    • Measles
    • Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (or, PCV13 – up to age 5 years)                                      
    • Mumps
    • Rubella
    • Hepatitis A and B
    • Hib disease (up to age 5 years)
    • Varicella
    • Meningococcal Conjugate
Ellijay (GA) – A fox that has now tested positive for rabies attempted to attack two hikers in Gilmer County on Sunday, July 19.
fox_rabies.jpgGilmer County Environmental Health officials reported that a man and woman were walking along a road in the Eagle Mountain section of Coosawattee River Resort when a fox started coming towards them in a menacing manner. The man kicked the fox twice in the head and it landed in a ditch. The stunned fox got up and was approaching them again when a local woman saw what was happening and drove over the fox with her car.
County environmental health was notified of the incident on Monday, July 20, and they prepared the specimen for shipment to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory. The lab confirmed on Tuesday, July 21 that the fox had tested positive for rabies.
It appeared the man who kicked the fox incurred no scratches or bites in the incident; however, as a precaution, environmental health officials have encouraged him to seek medical advice from his physician to determine his level of exposure.
Ray King, director of environmental health for North Georgia Health District 1-2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health, said, “Rabies exists in wildlife populations, so, naturally, rabid animals periodically come into contact with humans.”
King advises the public to be cautious when encountering either wild or domestic animals that are exhibiting unusual behavior and report them to animal control or their county environmental health office.
It is critical to also report any attacks or bites by a stray or wild animal.

fox2131.jpgWaleska (GA) – A Waleska couple was recently attacked by a fox that has now tested positive for rabies.

Cherokee County Environmental Health officials said the fox attacked the couple on Sunday, July 12 as they were in the yard of their home located off Chickasaw Drive in the Lake Arrowhead area. The woman was scratched on her leg and the man was bitten.

The fox was shot and animal control collected the body, which was picked up by environmental health staff on the following Monday and shipped to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory for testing.

The laboratory reported on Wednesday, July 15 that the fox was positive for rabies.

Meanwhile, following health officials’ recommendations, the couple has begun post-exposure rabies treatment.

Ellijay (GA) – Gilmer County Environmental Health officials have reported that five local residents were either exposed or potentially exposed to rabies in separate incidents on July 4th.
According to Andrea Martin, manager of Gilmer County Environmental Health, the first exposure took place mid-morning of the 4th as a couple in the Mountain Creek Hollow subdivision in Talking Rock, Georgia was attacked by a raccoon. The wife was bitten and scratched by the raccoon on her leg, and then as the husband fought off the animal, he was also scratched.
The couple immediately went to Piedmont Mountainside Hospital in Jasper to receive treatment while two of their neighbors searched for the raccoon in the subdivision.
Soon, the neighbors spotted the raccoon as it ran out of the garage of a nearby home after having attacked the homeowner, who then kicked the animal with his leg. One of the neighbors shot and killed the raccoon and turned it over to Martin on Monday.
“The Department of Natural Resources called to report the incident early Monday morning,” Martin said. “I immediately went to pick up the raccoon to prepare it for shipment to the state public health lab for rabies testing.”
Later on Monday, another incident was reported to Martin that had also happened on July 4th and involved a bat in the Coosawattee River Resort community.
Martin stated, “A resident was on his front porch early that evening when he spotted the bat in a recessed lighting fixture. He first tried to shoo the bat away with a broom, but when it didn’t budge, his adult son, who was visiting the home that day, turned on the light and the bat flew out and around to the back of the house.”
Later that night, the wife who lives in the home went through doors leading to the back porch from a guest room that remains closed to the rest of the house. When entering back inside the room, she saw a dead bat on the floor.
“It is believed this was the same bat that had earlier flown from the front porch to the back of the house and had died while clinging to the doors leading to the back porch from that guestroom,” said Martin. “Then, when the wife opened the doors, it fell inside without her noticing it until she walked back into the room. The husband, using very protective precautions, picked up the dead bat and brought it to me on Monday.”
One-Stop-Spot for Schools' State Health Requirements
School will be back in session before you know it! Is your child ready? The Whitfield County Health Department will conduct two Back-to-School Health Clinics to help get them ready. Join us at the health departmenBack_To_School_Whitfield_2015_poster-sm.jpgt from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on either Tuesday, July 28th or Tuesday, August 4th.
At the Whitfield County Health Department Back-to-School Health Clinics, the required Hearing, Dental, Vision and BMI/Nutrition Screenings will be available: Total cost for screenings is forty dollars. Also, immunizations will be provided for school-age children (there is a charge for vaccines). Acceptable methods of payment are Medicaid, Blue Cross/Blue Shield (immunizations only), Peachcare, WellCare, Amerigroup, PeachState, Cigna and Aetna Insurance.
The Whitfield County Health Department is located at 800 Professional Boulevard in Dalton. For more information, call (706) 226-2621.

Don't Wait. Vaccinate.

Your Child is Depending on YOU!


Child_Immunization.jpgCould your child be missing a vaccination? It is vital that children are kept current on their immunizations. A child’s immune system is more vulnerable than that of most adults, and without vaccinations, many children would suffer or even die from the severe effects of diseases such as measles, pertussis and influenza. Plus, the new school year will soon begin and it is a state requirement that children are current on their vaccinations to enter. Contact your local health department or private physician to find out which vaccinations your child may need. Also, many local health care providers and county health departments send follow-up immunization reminders to parents… Make sure your child’s health care provider has your current contact information so you will receive these timely reminders! For more information about immunization schedules, log onto the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website at