Healthy people, families, and communities.


7/28 - World Hepatitis Day

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website

For World Hepatitis Day, learn more about the different types of viral hepatitis that impact millions worldwide and what public health and the CDC are doing to help eliminate hepatitis.

Contact your local County Health Department in North Georgia for Hepatitis testing and treatment in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties. Click on the name of your North GA county (top of page) to locate your county health department information! Click HERE to learn about FREE Hepatitis A Vaccination sprovided at our health departments to people who are at high risk of contracting hepatitis A, including people who use illicit drugs, are incarcerated (or have recently been in jail), men having sex with men, and the homeless. We also encourage food service workers to get vaccinated.  

Viral hepatitis — a group of infectious diseases known as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E — affects millions of people worldwide, causing both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) liver disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) data show an estimated 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B or chronic hepatitis C. Viral hepatitis causes more than one million deaths per year, a number comparable to deaths caused by tuberculosis and HIV combined. While deaths from tuberculosis and HIV have been declining, deaths from hepatitis are increasing.

World Hepatitis Day is July 28th and is an opportunity to learn about the global burden of this disease and CDC’s efforts to combat viral hepatitis around the world. People can also find out if they should be tested or vaccinated for hepatitis A, B or C by taking CDC’s online Hepatitis Risk Assessment(, which is based on CDC recommendations for the United States.

What is CDC doing to help combat hepatitis globally?

The vision of CDC is to eliminate viral hepatitis in the United States and globally. When resources permit, CDC collaborates with WHO and other partners to help countries experiencing high rates of infection prevent and control viral hepatitis. Activities include improving viral hepatitis surveillance and planning and evaluating programs that can expand access to prevention interventions, clinical care, and treatments that can potentially prevent and cure millions of infections. CDC’s viral hepatitis laboratory also serves as a worldwide reference lab, providing recommendations to improve diagnostic quality for clinical laboratories around the world, which help ensure reliable, accurate, and quality diagnostics in viral hepatitis.

To prevent( hepatitis B infection, CDC provides financial and technical assistance to WHO and countries’ immunization programs like those in the Solomon Islands, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, Pacific Islands, Lao(, Colombia, Haiti, and other countries by:

Logo for World Hepatitis DayTo decrease the burden of all viral hepatitis types, CDC assists WHO in developing guidelines for surveillance, testing, and treatment and helps China, Georgia(, Pakistan, Vietnam, and other countries develop national programs to prevent and control viral hepatitis.

CDC’s international work helps reduce the disease burden for travelers and people migrating to the United States, while identifying best practices that may serve as models for other countries, including the United States.

What are the different types of hepatitis viruses occurring around the world?


The five hepatitis viruses – A, B, C, D and E – are distinct; they can have different modes of transmission, affect different populations, and result in different health outcomes.

  • Hepatitis A is primarily spread when someone ingests the virus from contact with food, drinks, or objects contaminated by feces from an infected person or has close personal contact with someone who is infected. Hepatitis A does not cause chronic liver disease and is rarely fatal, but it can cause serious symptoms. Hepatitis A can be prevented through improved sanitation, food safety, and vaccination.
  • Hepatitis B is often spread during birth from an infected mother to her baby. Infection can also occur through contact with blood and other body fluids through injection drug use, unsterile medical equipment, and sexual contact. The hepatitis B virus is common in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands, but also has increased rates in the Amazon region of South America, the southern parts of eastern and central Europe, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. The hepatitis B virus can cause both acute and chronic infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, chronic illness. If infected at birth or during early childhood, people are more likely to develop a chronic infection, which can lead to liver cirrhosis or even liver cancer. Getting the hepatitis B vaccine is the most effective way to prevent hepatitis B. WHO recommends that all infants receive the hepatitis B vaccine as soon as possible after birth, followed by 2-3 additional doses. In many parts of the world, widespread infant vaccination programs have led to dramatic declines of new hepatitis B cases.
  • Hepatitis C is spread through contact with blood of an infected person. Infection can occur through injection drug use and unsafe medical injections and other medical procedures. Mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis C is also possible. Hepatitis C can cause both acute and chronic infections, but most people who get infected develop a chronic infection. A significant number of those who are chronically infected will develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. With new treatments, over 90% of people with hepatitis C can be cured within 2-3 months, reducing the risk of death from liver cancer and cirrhosis. The first step for people living with hepatitis C to benefit from treatments is to get tested and linked to care. There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C but research in this area is ongoing.
  • Hepatitis D is passed through contact with infected blood. Hepatitis D only occurs in people who are already infected with the hepatitis B virus. People who are not already infected with hepatitis B can prevent hepatitis D by getting vaccinated against hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis E is spread mainly through contaminated drinking water. Hepatitis E usually clears in 4-6 weeks so there is no specific treatment. However, pregnant women infected with hepatitis E are at considerable risk of mortality from this infection.  Hepatitis E is found worldwide, but the number of infections is highest in East and South Asia. Improved sanitation and food safety can help prevent new cases of hepatitis E. A vaccine to prevent hepatitis E has been developed and is licensed in China, but is not yet available elsewhere.

More Information

rabid skunk web2

One puppy killed, injured puppies to be euthanized


Crandall (GA) – Murray County Environmental Health officials received word from a family on Friday, July 19th that a skunk came into a dog pen at their home off Rob Brooks Road in Crandall, Georgia and attacked several puppies.


One puppy was killed during the attack, and others were injured. None had yet been vaccinated for rabies, so the injured puppies were quarantined at Murray County Veterinary Services in Chatsworth until it could be determined if the skunk was positive for rabies.


Since then, test results from the Georgia Public Health Laboratory confirmed that the skunk was rabies infected; therefore, the puppies were to be euthanized. The mother dog was currently vaccinated against rabies so only needed a rabies booster shot and is under a 45-day quarantine at home.


Jason Baum, manager of Murray County Environmental Health, said he is passing out incident notification fliers in the immediate neighborhood and is encouraging all residents to maintain rabies vaccinations in their pets. He also said to avoid unfamiliar animals and immediately report bites or scratches from any animal that could potentially be unvaccinated against rabies to a healthcare provider and the local environmental health office. The Murray County Environmental Health Office phone number is (706) 695-0266, ext. 371. If calling after hours, please call the Georgia Poison Control Center, toll-free, at 1-800-222-1222.


For more information about rabies and its prevention, please log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at

Does Your Back-to-School Checklist Include Vaccination?

Make sure your children are up to date on their vaccines. Image of diverse kids.
Vaccinations Available at Health Departments in North Georgia! Click on the above LOCATIONS Tab for our County Health Departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties!

From newborns to college, you can help protect your children from 16 serious diseases by getting them vaccinated. Make sure your kids get any needed vaccines before the back-to-school rush!

As a parent, making sure your children are vaccinated on time is an important step toward ensuring their long-term health. Vaccination also helps protect the health of classmates, friends, relatives, and others in the community.

By following the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule for your children, you help protect them from disease outbreaks:

  • 2017-2018 was a high severity flu season with record breaking levels of influenza-like illness and hospitalization rates. CDC reported 176 flu-related deaths in children through June 30th. This set the record for the highest number of flu-related deaths in children reported during a single flu season. Approximately 80% of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination this season.
  • In 2014, The United States experienced 667 reported cases of measles in 27 states. That’s the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000. From January 1st to June 16th, 2018, 93 people from 19 states were reported to have measles.
  • Outbreaks of whooping cough can occur at middle and high schools as protection from childhood vaccines fades. In 2016, there were 17,972 reported cases of whooping cough in the U.S., down from 2012’s 57-year high of 48,277 cases.

Vaccines for Young Children (Newborns through 6 years old):

  • During the early years of life, your children need vaccines to help protect them from diseases that can be very serious, even deadly.
  • You can find out what vaccines your children need by reviewing CDC’s recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule.
  • Annual flu vaccines are recommended for children 6 months and older. Each year, millions of children get sick from seasonal flu. Thousands are hospitalized, and some children die from flu. Children of any age with chronic health problems like asthma, diabetes, and disorders of the brain or nervous system are at high risk of serious flu complications.

Image of diverse teenage students.

Preteens and teens need vaccines, too! Check out the CDC recommended vaccines for teens.

Vaccines for Preteens and Teens (7 years old through 18 years old):

  • All preteens and teens need a flu vaccine every year.
    • Some children 6 months through 8 years of age require two doses of flu vaccine. Children 6 months through 8 years getting vaccinated for the first time, and those who have only previously gotten one dose of vaccine, should get two doses of vaccine this season. The first dose should be taken as soon as the flu vaccine is available, and the second dose should be received at least 28 days after the first dose. In following years, only one dose is needed.
  • In addition to an year flu vaccine, three vaccines are recommended specifically for preteens:
    • HPV vaccine protects against HPV infections that can cause cancer later in life.
    • Tdap is a booster shot to help protect preteens from whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria.
    • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against meningitis, and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia). These illnesses can be very serious, even fatal.
  • If your teen hasn’t gotten one or more of these vaccines, make an appointment for them to get caught up today.

Be wise – Have your Child ImmunizedImage of doctor with young patient.

What Parents Need to Know:

  • CDC has online resources and tools to help you make sure your kids are up to date on recommended vaccines and protected from serious diseases.
  • If you don’t have health insurance, or your insurance policy doesn’t cover all recommended childhood vaccines, your child may be eligible for vaccines through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.
  • Your state may require children to get vaccines against certain diseases before the first day of school. Visit the Immunization Action Coalition’s State Information websiteExternal for more information.

It’s Not Too Late to Protect Your Children!

If your children have missed any vaccines, your healthcare professional can use the catch-up immunization schedule to get them back on track.  Make sure your kids get any needed vaccines before the back-to-school rush!

Watch this great CDC video! 
Stay Cool, Stay Hydrated, Stay Informed
Stay Cool

couple running outside on a trail

Wear Appropriate Clothing: Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

Stay Cool Indoors: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.

  • Keep in mind: Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, they will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.


Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.

Pace Yourself: Cut down on exercise during the heat. If you’re not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.

Wear Sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.

  • Tip: Look for sunscreens that say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels- these products work best.


Do Not Leave Children in Cars: Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open. While anyone left in a parked car is at risk, children are especially at risk of getting a heat stroke or dying. When traveling with children, remember to do the following:

  • Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
  • When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.


Avoid Hot and Heavy Meals: They add heat to your body!

Stay Hydrated

 Photo of athlete drinking water.

Drink Plenty of Fluids: Drink more fluids, regardless of how active you are. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

  • Warning: If your doctor limits the amount you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Stay away from very sugary or alcoholic drinks—these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.


Replace Salt and Minerals: Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body that need to be replaced. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.

  • If you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.


Keep Your Pets Hydrated: Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.

Stay Informed

girl playing with water

Check for Updates: Check your local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips and to learn about any cooling shelters in your area.

Know the Signs: Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them.

Use a Buddy System: When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness. If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know someone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.

Monitor Those at High Risk: Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others:

  • Infants and young children
  • People 65 years of age or older
  • People who are overweight
  • People who overexert during work or exercise
  • People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation


Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

Prevent Mosquito Bites

Aedes aegypti mosquitoThe most effective way to avoid getting sick from viruses spread by mosquitoes when at home and during travel is to prevent mosquito bitesMosquito bites can be more than just annoying and itchy. They can spread viruses that make you sick or, in rare cases, cause death. Although most kinds of mosquitoes are just nuisance mosquitoes, some kinds of mosquitoes in the United States and around the world spread viruses that can cause disease.

Mosquitoes bite during the day and night, live indoors and outdoors, and search for warm places as temperatures begin to drop. Some will hibernate in enclosed spaces, like garages, sheds, and under (or inside) homes to survive cold temperatures. Except for the southernmost states in North America, mosquito season starts in the summer and continues into fall.

When used as directed, insect repellents are the BEST way to protect yourself and family members from getting sick from mosquito bites.





  • Use insect repellent: When used as directed, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Use an EPA-registered insect repellentExternal with one of the following active ingredients: 
    • DEET
    • Picaridin
    • IR3535
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
    • Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
    • 2-undecanone
  • Cover up: Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Keep mosquitoes outside: Use air conditioning, or window and door screens. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net.


For more information, see the Mosquito Bite Prevention fact sheet. Cdc-pdf[967 KB]

Planning a trip?

Make a check list of everything you’ll need for an enjoyable vacation and use the following resources to help you prepare:


Do your homework before you travel.

For most viruses spread by mosquitoes, there are no vaccines or medicines available. However, vaccines are available for viruses like Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever. Travelers to areas with risk of those viruses should get vaccinated.

After traveling

  • Even if they do not feel sick, travelers should prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks after their trip so they do not spread viruses like dengue, Zika, or chikungunya to uninfected mosquitoes.
  • If you have been travelling and have symptoms including fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and rash, see your healthcare provider immediately and be sure to share your travel history.

Mosquito-borne viruses in the continental US

West Nile virus is the most common virus spread by mosquitoes in the continental United States. People can also get sick from less common viruses spread by mosquitoes, like La Crosse encephalitis or St. Louis encephalitis. In rare cases, these can cause severe disease or even be deadly. Most people infected with these viruses do not have symptoms, or have only mild symptoms like fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting. CDC tracks diseases spread by mosquitoes.

Mosquito-borne viruses in US territories

Viruses like dengue, Zika, and chikungunya are well-known to people living in US territories like Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Many people infected with these viruses do not have symptoms, or have mild symptoms. Mild symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and rash.


More than one-third of the world’s population lives in areas with risk of dengue, including Puerto Rico. Dengue virus infections are a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. It is estimated as many as 100 million people get sick each year. Dengue is caused by any one of four related viruses spread by mosquitoes. Early recognition and prompt medical care can greatly lower the risk of complications and even death. Learn more from the Dengue Feature.


Zika virus disease (Zika) is still a problem in many parts of the world. Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands are areas with risk. Many areas in the United States have the kind of mosquitoes that can spread Zika.

Zika can cause birth defects in babies born to women who were infected during pregnancy. CDC recommends pregnant women and their partners and couples considering pregnancy know the risks and take prevention steps.


Since 2013, chikungunya virus has spread to 45 countries and over 2 million cases have been reported. US territories such as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have had large outbreaks of chikungunya virus. Infection is rarely fatal, but joint pain can often be severe and debilitating. There are also cases of travelers returning home who have been infected.

One-Stop Spot for School State Health Requirements!


Is your child ready for the upcoming school year? The Cherokee County Health Department is conducting a Back To School Rush Health Clinic on Tuesday, July 30th from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at public health department locations in both Canton and Woodstock. The required Hearing, Dental, Vision and BMI/Nutrition Screenings will be available: Total cost for screenings is $50. Also, immunizations will be provided for school-age children for $21.90 each (for uninsured or underinsured). Medicaid (including Amerigroup, Caresource, Peachstate and Wellcare), Peachcare for Kids, HUMANA, AETNA, United Health Care, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Ambetter, CIGNA and Coventry are accepted. The health department location in Canton is 1219 Univeter Road and the address in Woodstock is 7545 North Main Street. For more information, please call (770) 345-7371 in Canton or (770) 928-0133 in Woodstock.

CherHDBacktoSchool flyer web July2019

CherHDBacktoSchool SP flyer web July2019