Twelve North Georgians Receive Post-Exposure Rabies Treatment

Two puppies and a kitten test positive for rabies

Rabies VirusDalton (GA) – North Georgia Health District officials announced today that twelve people are currently receiving post-exposure rabies treatment due to contact with domestic animals that have now tested positive for the disease.


Within the past two weeks, two puppies and a kitten have been confirmed by the Georgia Public Health Laboratory as having rabies. All three pets were too young to receive rabies vaccinations. One of the puppies was in Whitfield County and the other was in Gilmer County. The kitten was in Cherokee County. In each case, the pet was attacked by a rabid wild animal and bitten in the head, but it was not reported to veterinarians or health authorities until rabies symptoms developed in the pet.


The time between being bitten by the wild animal and onset of rabies symptoms was very short because the head bites were close to the brain. The rabies virus only travels through the nervous system to the brain, not through blood or other organs. The closer a bite is to the brain, the shorter time it takes to reach the brain.


Wild animals that transmitted rabies to the puppies and kitten were a skunk, a raccoon and, possibly, a coyote.


The fact that these unrelated cases occurred in separate areas of the North Georgia Health District within the past two weeks is a coincidence, and even more coincidental is that all pets involved were too young to vaccinate. Pets must be at least three months old to be vaccinated against rabies.


Parents are strongly cautioned to keep children away from wild animals, strays and unvaccinated pets that may have been in contact with wild animals. Vaccinate all dogs and cats at three months of age and no later.

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Dawnville Road puppy tests positive for rabies

rabies picDalton (GA) – On July 12, the Georgia Public Health Laboratory reported to the Whitfield County Environmental Health office that a poodle-mix puppy from the 900-block area of Dawnville Road in Whitfield County was rabid.

Anyone who may have had contact with this cream-colored puppy should contact Whitfield County Environmental Health at 706-272-2005 or the North Georgia Health District at 706-529-5757, extension 1161. Because the rabies virus can be present in the saliva of an animal before it shows symptoms of rabies, health authorities need to talk to anyone who had physical contact with the puppy since June 27 to evaluate their need for preventative rabies treatments.

Once symptoms of rabies start to develop in a human, there is no cure and death is almost certain. If anyone thinks they may have been exposed to rabies, seek medical care at once.

The puppy was too young for a rabies vaccination when a skunk attacked it several weeks ago, biting it in the head and transmitting rabies. There have been three additional rabid skunks in Whitfield County this year.

The rabies virus is transmitted in the saliva of the rabid animal through bites that break the skin or by exposure of the saliva to mucous membranes of the nose or eyes. Puppies lick, gnaw and chew by their nature, so a lick to a fresh wound would also be an exposure to rabies.

Health authorities need to talk with persons who had these kinds of exposures to the saliva of the puppy within the two weeks before it started to become ill on July 7. Simply being around the puppy or handling it would not require rabies treatments. Contact with the saliva is the most important factor in transmitting rabies.

Children should be warned to avoid any contact with stray dogs, cats and wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, bats, bobcats, coyotes, foxes and other wild carnivores. Bites from any of these animals need immediate medical attention. Be certain all pets are currently vaccinated against rabies. Livestock are also susceptible to rabies and can be vaccinated by a veterinarian.

More information about rabies may be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at

BACK-TO-SCHOOL HEALTH CLINIC in Cherokee County is July 25!

One-Stop Spot for School Students’ State Health Requirements!

Cher BtS July2017 flyerIs your child ready for the upcoming school year? The Cherokee County Health Department is conducting a Back-to-School Health Clinic on Tuesday, July 25th 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 (immunizations, only), 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.


Born between 1945 and 1965? YOU need to be tested for Hepatitis C! Hepatitis C Clinic in Blue Ridge Graphic 4web

Blue Ridge, GA – The Fannin County Health Department is conducting a HEPATITIS C CLINIC on Monday, July 10th from 9 AM to Noon at their location at 95 Ouida Street in Blue Ridge. The clinic is offering FREE Rapid Hepatitis C Testing. Hepatitis C is 10 times more infectious that HIV and more than 75% of adults with Hepatitis C are Baby Boomers – people born between 1945 and 1965. Most people who are infected with Hepatitis C don’t know it; therefore, getting tested is key! For more information about the upcoming HEPATITIS C CLINIC in Blue Ridge, contact the Fannin County Health Department at (706) 632-3023.



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