Healthy people, families, and communities.


Our Emergency Preparedness Department's May-June 2024 issue of the North Georgia Health District Newsletter: EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESSis now available!

This issue includes crucial NOAA hurricane preparedness recommendations, the latest regional North Georgia Healthcare Coalition updates, a published article about our Community Overdose Response Program, a special Emergency Preparedness "Shout-Out", and a fun Hurricane Safety Tips crossword puzzle.

Enjoy the full issue by clicking the image below or by going to

This newsletter is currently issued every other month and highlights our health district’s Emergency Preparedness Department's efforts, along with state and local partners, to help prepare our communities for disaster. To see past issues of our Emergency Preparedness newsletter, please click HERE

NGHD Emergency Preparedness Newsletter Thumbnail and Social Media Post Jan 2024


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Ellijay, GA — UPDATE: The Gilmer County Health Department in Ellijay, Georgia will remain closed today, Thursday, May 9, 2024, due to weather-related conditions. WIC and Environmental Health offices in Gilmer County also will be closed.

All updates are posted here on the North Georgia Health District website at

Hep Awareness Month

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May is recognized as Hepatitis Awareness Month in the United States, with May 19th specifically designated as Hepatitis Testing Day. Each year during this month, the North Georgia Health District works diligently to bring attention to the impact of viral hepatitis, advocating for testing and vaccination. By promoting awareness and combatting social stigma, our efforts during Hepatitis Awareness Month aim to enhance public understanding of viral hepatitis transmission and risk factors.

Key Points on Viral Hepatitis: Various viruses can cause hepatitis, with hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C being the most common types.

  • Chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C are major contributors to liver cancer in the U.S.
  • Hepatitis A and hepatitis B can be prevented through safe and effective vaccines, while hepatitis C is curable with prescribed treatment.
  • The CDC recommends vaccination against hepatitis A and hepatitis B for all adults up to age 59, and for older adults with risk factors. Individuals aged 60 or older without risk factors may opt for vaccination.
  • A significant percentage of people with hepatitis B and hepatitis C are unaware of their infection, highlighting the importance of testing.
  • The CDC advises all adults to undergo testing for hepatitis B and hepatitis C at least once in their lifetime, with pregnant women recommended to be tested during each pregnancy. Testing is crucial for identifying and managing hepatitis infections.

These guidelines and facts underscore the critical need for vigilance in preventing and managing viral hepatitis, ultimately contributing to better public health outcomes and reducing the burden of these diseases.

Find more information about Hepatitis and Hepatitis Awareness Month at


Hepatitis C
Testing is FREE at Health Departments in North Georgia
We provide free Hepatitis C testing for individuals at higher risk of infection. Hepatitis C is a contagious virus that can lead to lifelong liver disease, primarily spread through contact with infected blood. Free rapid testing is available at health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens, and Whitfield counties.
Residents in one or more of the following categories are encouraged to utilize our free testing:
  • Born between 1945 and 1965
  • Current or past injection drug use
  • Sharing drug equipment
  • HIV positive
  • Received blood transfusions before 1992
  • Received clotting factors before 1987
  • Sexual partner of a Hepatitis C positive individual
  • Received tattoos or piercings in unprofessional settings
Individuals who test positive and qualify can join the Mono-Infected Hepatitis C Treatment program at the Whitfield County Health Department Adult Health Clinic in Dalton. Residents should contact their local health department to determine their need for Hepatitis C testing. For health department contact details, click on the name of the nearest county listed above.


Rabies Warning banner cats

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Jasper, GA – On Friday, April 19, the Pickens County Environmental Health office was notified that two residents were attacked by a rabies-infected stray cat in the Bethany-Salem area. The incident occurred at a home in the vicinity of Mountain Lake Drive off Henderson Mountain Road, prompting immediate action from county Animal Control.

Upon investigating the incident, Animal Control discovered that the same stray cat that attacked the two individuals in the Mountain Lake Drive area had also bitten another person nearby in the area of South Woods Court. Suspecting rabies, Animal Control took the cat to a local veterinarian for testing.

Subsequent tests confirmed the cat's positive rabies status. Therefore, all three bite victims are now undergoing necessary post-exposure treatment. Reports of stray cats in the area have raised concerns, prompting Pickens County Environmental Health officials to issue an alert urging residents to be vigilant.