Healthy people, families, and communities.



 From the Georgia Department of Public Health

Mosquito prevention social media post for Web
August 29, 2018

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has confirmed seven human cases of West Nile virus so far this year, including one death. Additionally, there has been one confirmed case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) which resulted in death. EEE is rare illness in humans, and only a few cases are reported in the United States each year.

Georgians are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites, particularly when they are outside this Labor Day weekend. Mosquito season in Georgia typically lasts through October, sometimes longer depending on the weather. 

“Georgians can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes and yards by getting rid of standing water,” said Chris Rustin, Ph.D., DPH director of Environmental Health. “Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that may be infected with West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.”

Tip ‘n Toss all containers that can collect water - flowerpots, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths - anything that holds water and gives mosquitoes a place to thrive. Mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus look for stagnant water to breed in, so be sure gutters are clear of leaves and debris.

The most effective way to protect against WNV infection and all mosquito-borne diseases is to prevent mosquito bites. Observe the “Five D’s of Prevention” during your outdoor activities this holiday weekend:

  • Dusk/Dawn– Mosquitoes carrying WNV usually bite at dusk and dawn, so avoid or limit outdoor activity at these times.
  • Dress– Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
  • DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
  • Drain - Empty any containers holding standing water because they are excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
  • Doors– Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.


Symptoms of WNV include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash - that usually develop three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The elderly, those with compromised immune systems, or those with other underlying medical conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease.

Anyone with questions about WNV or EEE should speak to their health care provider or call their local county health department, environmental health office. 

More information about mosquito-borne illnesses and mosquito repellents can be found here.

Information about West Nile Virus and EEE can be found here.  

About the Georgia Department of Public Health 

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is the lead agency in preventing disease, injury and disability; promoting health and well-being; and preparing for and responding to disasters from a health perspective. DPH’s main functions include: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Maternal and Child Health, Infectious Disease and Immunization, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Emergency Medical Services, Pharmacy, Nursing, Volunteer Health Care, the Office of Health Equity, Vital Records, and the State Public Health Laboratory. For more information visit:

 Drive thru 2018 Web image2

Just Roll In. Roll Up a Sleeve. And, ARM Against the FLU!

North Georgia – Get ready to drive through and beat the flu at one of six public health Drive-thru Flu Shot Clinics happening soon in North Georgia.

Since 2008, public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties have conducted these special flu shot clinics, making it possible for residents to roll in, roll up a sleeve and arm against the flu safely, quickly and efficiently while remaining in their vehicles.

The Drive-thru Flu Shot Clinics serve people ages 18 and over.

The types of flu vaccine that will be offered at the clinics are the four-in-one quadrivalent flu vaccine and the Fluzone High Dose vaccine for people sixty-five and older.

Quadrivalent flu vaccine protects people against four different strains of flu, including two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.

The Fluzone High-Dose flu vaccine is for people 65 years of age and older because it has four times the amount of protective antigen for immune systems that tend to weaken with age.

The cost of the quadrivalent flu shot is $25 and the Fluzone High-Dose flu shot is $65. Cash, Medicare, Medicaid, Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield Health and United Healthcare Insurance will be accepted along with other forms of payment and insurance, depending on the county.

While arming residents against the flu at the Drive-thru Flu Shot Clinics, public health staff and community partners test their plans for standing up a temporary Point of Dispensing (POD) to rapidly administer medication during a public health crisis. Participating community partners include local law enforcement, volunteers, businesses and first responders such as the county Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Medical Services and Fire Department.

This year, the Drive-thru Flu Shot Clinics are scheduled in each county, as follows:

Cherokee: Tuesday, September 25th, 9 A.M. – 2 P.M., Woodstock City Church: 150 Ridgewalk Parkway, Woodstock, GA. Call (770) 928-0133 or (770) 345-7371 for more details.

Pickens: Tuesday, September 25th, 8:30 A.M. – 3 P.M., Mt. Zion Baptist Church: 1036 North Main Street, Jasper, GA. Call (706) 253-2821 for more details.

Fannin: Wednesday, September 26th, 9 A.M. – 3 P.M., The Farmers Market: East First Street, Blue Ridge, GA. Call (706) 632-3023 for more details.

Whitfield: Tuesday, October 2nd, 9 A.M. – 5 P.M., Dalton Convention Center: 2211 Dug Gap Battle Road, Dalton, GA. Call (706) 279-9600 for more details.

Gilmer: Thursday, October 4th, 8:30 A.M. – 2 P.M., Pleasant Grove Baptist Church: 115 Pleasant Grove Road, Ellijay, GA. Call (706) 635-4363 for more details.

Murray: Tuesday, October 9th, 8 A.M. – 6 P.M., Murray County Parks and Recreation Department: 651 Hyden Tyler Road, Chatsworth, GA. Call (706) 695-4585 for more details.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed days from work and school, and it can prevent flu-related hospitalizations. As people get vaccinated, they are not only protecting themselves, but they are also helping to prevent the spread of the flu to others, including older people, very young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination. The most convenient way to get that vaccination in North Georgia is at the nearest public health Drive-thru Flu Shot Clinic.

For additional details about the Drive-thru Flu Shot Clinics, call the local county health department. To learn more about influenza and flu protection, log onto the CDC’s website at

Cherokee Car Seat Check Distribution Web Post




Car Seat Safety with childCar seats and boosters provide protection for infants and children in a crash, yet car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. That's why it's so important to choose and use the right car seat correctly every time your child is in the car. Car Seat Check experts are available at all County Health Departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties! Just click on your county's name and contact your health department to arrange to have your child's car seat checked for safety and follow these important steps to choose the right seat, install it correctly and keep your child safe.


The Process

Follow these steps to help you through the process of finding the right car seat, installing it correctly, and keeping your child safe.

Find the right car seat

Install your car seat correctly

Keep your child safe in a car seat


  Watch this Video Car Seat Safety Video

 Measles (Rubeola)   From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website 

Measles Signs and Symptoms 4 webMeasles starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat. It’s followed by a rash that spreads over the body. Measles virus is a highly contagious virus and spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. Make sure you and your child are protected with measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Contact your local County Health Department in North Georgia for vaccination against these and many other preventable diseases... click on the name of your county in the navigation bar above.


Measles Cases and Outbreaks

Español: Casos y brotes de sarampión

Measles Cases

So far in 2018, 107 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 21 states and the District of Colombia. The states that have reported cases to CDC are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. Current as of July 14, 2018. More...

Measles Outbreaks

So far in 2018, there have been eight outbreaks in the U.S. of three or more cases.

Outbreaks in countries to which Americans often travel can directly contribute to an increase in measles cases in the U.S, Contact our Gilmer County International Travel Clinic for travel safety guidelines. More...




for parentssParents and Caregiverss


Learn about measles, the vaccine to prevent it, and the importance of vaccinating according to CDC’s recommended schedule. See resources for parents and others who care for children (including childcare providers). More...  



Healthcare provider Healthcare Providers 

Consider measles in patients with a fever, rash, and cough, coryza and conjunctivitis—the three “C”s. Ask if they are vaccinated against measles and whether they have recently traveled internationally or if there’s measles in the community. More...



kid pulling another kid on a suitcase  Travelerss 

Measles remains a common disease in many parts of the world. Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting infected when they travel internationally. Make sure you and your family are up to date on measles vaccination... Before you travel, contact our Gilmer County International Travel ClinicMore...



Food Safe Summer 4web

From the website of

Summer and Vacations

Due to a variety of factors, including warmer temperatures, foodborne illness increases in summer. Stay healthy and safe during warmer months by contacting your County Environmental Health office in North Georgia (click on county name in LOCATIONS tab above) and by following these food safety recommendations:

When bringing food to a picnic or cookout:

  • Use an insulated cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs.  Frozen food can also be used as a cold source.
  • Foods that need to be kept cold include raw meat, poultry, and seafood; deli and luncheon meats or sandwiches; summer salads (tuna, chicken, egg, pasta, or seafood); cut up fruit and vegetables; and perishable dairy products.
  • A full cooler will maintain its cold temperature longer than a partially filled one.  When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter.
  • Avoid opening the cooler repeatedly so that your food stays colder longer.

When cooking on the grill:

  • Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and ready-to-eat items like vegetables or bread.
  • Keep perishable food cold until it is ready to cook.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are cooked thoroughly to their safe minimum internal temperatures
    • Beef, Pork, Lamb, & Veal (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145 °F with a 3 minute rest time
    • Ground meats: 160 °F
    • Whole poultry, poultry breasts, & ground poultry: 165 °F
  • Always use a fresh, clean plate and tongs for serving cooked food. Never reuse items that touched raw meat or poultry to serve the food once it is cooked.

When serving food outdoors:

  • Perishable food should not sit out for more than two hours.  In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should NEVER sit out for more than one hour.
  • Serve cold food in small portions, and keep the rest in the cooler.  After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served – at 140 °F or warmer.
  • Keep hot food hot by setting it to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook.

General Information

Barbecue and Food Safety (USDA)
Use these simple guidelines for grilling food safely.

Handling Food Safely on the Road (USDA)
Pack safely for the camping trip, boat ride, day at the beach, or trip in the RV.

Food Safety While Hiking, Camping & Boating (USDA)
If food is not handled correctly, foodborne illness can be an unwelcome souvenir from your trip.

Build A Kit

From website

Build A Kit

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own foodwater and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

From the Georgia Department of Public Health website

Prevent Mosquito borne Diseases Web Banner

Mosquito-borne Viral Diseases

Several mosquito-borne viruses circulate in Georgia each year and are capable of causing disease in humans and other animals. The most common mosquito-borne viruses in Georgia include West Nile virus, Eastern Equine encephalitis virus, and LaCrosse virus. Saint Louis encephalitis virus has also been detected in Georgia in the past. Mosquito-borne viruses are most active late spring through early fall in Georgia.

Mosquito-borne viruses can infect birds, horses, and other animals in addition to humans. If public health reports positive birds or horses in your area, or if you see large numbers of mosquitoes, you could be at increased risk of infection. Always take personal protective measures to avoid mosquito bites, especially when mosquito-borne viruses have been identified near you.

For more information on mosquitoes in North Georgia, click on the LOCATIONS tab above in the navigation bar and choose the County Environmental Health office for your county in North Georgia.

Information on Repellents:

The Georgia Department of Public Health recommends the use of products containing active ingredients that have been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use as repellents applied to skin and clothing.

Of the products registered with the EPA, those containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection.

EPA registration means that EPA does not expect the product to cause adverse effects to human health or the environment when used according to the label.

From by Bridget Clerkin

A vehicle's interior can warm rapidly and prove fatal to children and pets.

With its longer days and warmer air, summer is a seasonal favorite of many. But the same things that make this time of year so pleasant can also make it potentially dangerous.

The hottest months of 2018 are here and already, many children have lost their lives this year to vehicular heatstroke. Most of the victims were infants, with a 3-year-old marking the year’s oldest casualty to date.

The statistics are undoubtedly tragic, but sadly, they’re nothing new. Since 1998, 754 children age 14 and under have passed away from vehicular heatstroke. At an average of 37 incidents each year, the scenario is the leading auto-related killer of children outside of roadway accidents. 

Children under 1 are the primary victims.

And that’s to say nothing of the thousands of animals that lose their lives each year inside a hot car.

But the heartbreaking situation is nothing if not preventable.

Below are some tips, tricks, and facts to help make this summer as safe as possible for your smallest passengers.

Heat Rising

One of the things that makes vehicular heatstroke so dangerous is how quickly it strikes.

In 10 minutes, the interior of a car can heat up by 19 degrees. And cracking a window doesn’t help.

In 10 minutes, the interior of a car can heat up by 19 degrees.

The issue arises from the rays of shortwave radiation beaming down from the sun. The solar energy is absorbed particularly well by dark-colored objects, such as a dashboard, steering wheel, or car seat, which can reach temperatures of up to 200 degrees from exposure to the rays. 

The heat-absorbed objects then, in turn, emit longwave radiation, which works quickly and effectively at warming the air inside of a vehicle.

Children and animals are particularly at risk in the superheated environment as it takes far less to bring up their core temperatures. 

Even in a vehicle parked in the shade, a 2-year-old’s body can reach a potentially fatal 104 degrees in under 2 hours, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Arizona. (Cars parked in the sun could become deadly in just one hour, the study found.)

And while vehicles with light-colored interiors take slightly longer to reach dangerous levels, they aren’t immune to the lethal effects, which can take place on days with a temperature as low as 57 degrees.

Still, a number of technological solutions are being developed to help combat the problem—and they’re becoming more widely available (go to to learn more).


Most mothers want to breastfeed but stop early due to a lack of ongoing support. Certain factors make the difference

in whether and how long infants are breastfed. For more information on why breastfeeding matters, what CDC is doing

to increase breastfeeding rates, and how we are making a difference, explore the options below. 

   This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
 Notice of Non Discrimination web buttonNotice of Non Discrimination web button Sp
   For CDC WIC Info visit the CDC page.

Breastfeeding prevents malnutrition and has positive lifelong effects on both children and mothers. Learn more here and by calling your local County Health Department in North Georgia (click on your county name above) or by linking here to North Georgia WIC.

August 1 - 7, We Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week!

WABA 2018 web

WABA 2018 facts

NIAM 2018 web

North Georgia Health District of the Georgia Department of Public Health urges North Georgians to get vaccinated this August during

National Immunization Awareness Month

North GA The month of August is about bringing awareness to immunizations, and North Georgia Health District 1-2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) wants Georgians to think ahead and get the vaccinations they need at each stage of life and situation.

"Vaccinations are our best defense against vaccine-preventable diseases," said Sheila Lovett, director for the Georgia Department of Public Health Immunization Program. "During National Immunization Awareness Month, we urge residents to get themselves and their families up to date on their vaccinations."

August serves as a reminder that people of all ages require timely vaccinations to protect their health.

Each week of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) this year, the focus will be on a different stage of life:

o Babies and young children (August 12-18)

o  Pregnant women (August 5-11)

o Adults (August 26-31)

o  Preteens and Teens (August 19-25)

o  Back to School (July/August)

Safe and effective vaccines are available at your county health department to protect adults and children alike against potentially life-threatening diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, meningococcal disease, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, shingles, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chickenpox).

Every adult in Georgia (19 years of age and older) should follow the recommended immunization schedule by age and medical condition. Vaccinations protect our families and communities; especially infants and those individuals who are unable to be immunized or who have weakened immune systems. This link is to the recommended adult immunization schedule:

Vaccines protect families, teens and children by preventing disease. Not only do vaccinations help avoid expensive therapies and hospitalization needed to treat infectious diseases like influenza and pneumococcal disease, but they also reduce absences both at school and at work and decrease the spread of illness in the home, workplace and community. Adults should check with their health care provider for their current immunization recommendations as well as parents to check for their children.

For the 2017-2018 season, CDC recommends use of the flu shot (inactivated vaccine or IIV) and the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV) for everyone 6 months and older. The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2017-2018.

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 new 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:

- Diphtheria                                            - Mumps

- Tetanus                                               - Rubella

- Pertussis                                             - Hepatitis A and B

- Polio                                                    - Hib disease (up to age 5 years)

- Measles                                               - Varicella

- PCV13 (up to age 5 years)                 - Meningococcal Conjugate

Some schools, colleges, and universities have policies requiring vaccination against meningococcal disease as a condition of enrollment. Students aged 21 years or younger should have documentation of receipt of a dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine not more than five years before enrollment. If the primary dose was administered before the 16th birthday, a booster dose should be administered before enrollment in college.

"The focus of vaccinations is often on young children, but it’s just as important for teens, college students and adults to stay current on their vaccinations," said Lovett.

This August, protect your family by getting vaccinated. Check with your local county health department in North Georgia about current vaccination recommendations for you and your children (click on your county's name in the above toolbar to find health department contact information and location).

Call or visit your public health department and get vaccinated today.

For more information on immunization, visit