Healthy people, families, and communities.


World AIDS Day 2012 web photoDalton (GA) - The North Georgia Health District, based in Dalton, Georgia and comprised of Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties, joins health agencies and organizations worldwide in celebrating World AIDS Day 2012 on December 1.

The theme for World AIDS Day 2012 is "Getting to Zero." Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths.

HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus that damages a person's immune system by destroying blood cells that help fight against diseases. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the late stage of HIV infection where the immune system is severely damaged, leaving the person susceptible to infections and tumors. HIV is spread by contact with infected bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health HIV/AIDS Statistics and Reports online, Georgia is ranked sixth highest in the nation for its cumulative reported number of AIDS cases through December 2009, and in 2010, the number of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Georgia was over 40,000 (

UNAIDS is a global strategy adopted for years 2011 to 2015 that aims to advance progress in halting and reversing the spread of HIV worldwide by 2015. 
The North Georgia Health District office in Dalton and health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties will be closed Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

These offices will resume their regular business hours on Monday, November 26.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
Dalton (GA) - Turkey is such the favorite staple of most Thanksgiving feasts that Thanksgiving Day is often fondly referred to as Turkey Day. But, given that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that 80 percent of food borne illnesses are linked to meat and poultry, proper handling and cooking of your holiday turkey is essential. 

Below are important turkey safety tips to practice this holiday season: 

1. IMPROPER THAWING: If a turkey is not completely thawed it will not get done in the middle allowing Salmonella to survive.
  • Whenever possible, thaw turkeys in the refrigerator. However, it takes 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey. A 20 pound frozen turkey can take 4 to 5 days to thaw in a refrigerator.
  • Frozen turkeys can be thawed by sealing in a food-grade plastic bag and submerging in cold tap water. Change the water every thirty minutes. This method takes approximately 30 minutes for each pound of turkey. Using a small stream of running water is an even better method but the water must drain at the same time.  An ice chest is a good container for these methods although a kitchen sink may suffice.
  • NEVER thaw turkeys out at room temperature! Bacteria will grow on the outside of the turkey before the middle is thawed.      
  • Microwave thawing is a possibility but most whole frozen turkeys won’t fit inside most microwave ovens. Cook the turkey immediately after removing from microwave.

2. IMPROPER COOKING: The middle of the turkey must reach 165ºF in order to kill all Salmonella and other bacteria. Don’t guess! Use a meat thermometer. Cook dressing separately - don’t stuff the turkey. Whether you bake, smoke or fry a turkey, the middle must reach 165°F.

3. IMPROPER COOLING: Never let a turkey sit out at room temperature for more than one hour after cooking. Many cases of Salmonella food poisoning have happened because the turkey was not thoroughly cooked and then allowed to sit out at room temperature all morning or all night. If the turkey is not served the day of cooking, it should be carved and placed in the refrigerator.

4. LEFTOVERS: Don’t leave leftovers sitting out a room temperature. After the meal, freeze or refrigerate leftovers in convenient smaller portions. Leftovers can be as or more dangerous than freshly cooked turkey. Your home refrigerator should be no higher than 41°F.

Just follow these tips, and have a very happy and SAFE Thanksgiving! Turkey cartoon - Nov 2012 for web
The North Georgia Health District and health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Veterans-Day-Happy-Memorial-DayMurray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties will be closed on Monday, November 12 in honor of Veterans Day.

Offices will open at the regularly scheduled time on the following day, Tuesday, November 13.

In the USA, Veterans Day annually falls on November 11. This day is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice, which ended the World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918. Veterans are thanked for their services to the United States on Veterans Day.
Dalton, GA - Carol Hendrix was recently announced as the Carolyn Wetzel Continuum Award Winner for 2012 by the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia. This award recognizes volunteers and health professionals who contribute to the health and well being of Georgia's families.

Carolyn Wetzel Continuum Award 2012 Winner Carol Hendrix for webCarolyn Wetzel Continuum Award Winner for 2012 is
Carol Hendrix, Breastfeeding Coordinator, WIC, North Georgia Health District. Pictured left to right: Karen Rutledge, Nominator; Carol Hendrix, Winner, Pat Swan, HMHB Board of Directors
Hendrix truly embodies the spirit of the award as both a volunteer and a health professional. In addition to serving as the Breastfeeding Coordinator for North Georgia Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Hendrix volunteers for the Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition, the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition and the Southeastern Lactation Consultant Association.

Hendrix played an integral part in the production of the highly successful Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition's DVD titled "Breastfeeding: A Guide for Success".

Additionally, Hendrix manages fourteen Loving Support Peer Counselors. These Peer Counselors are mothers who have personal experience with breastfeeding and are trained to help women initiate and continue breastfeeding.

Through Hendrix's collaboration with Theresa Brown, Lactation Consultant at Hamilton Medical Center of Dalton, the Peer Counselors are able to spend time at the hospital providing breastfeeding support to new mothers.

Hendrix and Brown presented their unique collaboration at recent International Lactation Consultant Association and Atlanta Emory conferences.

Also this year, Hendrix and Brown gave a presentation of their Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition collaborations at the National Breastfeeding Coalition Conference in Washington, DC.
Dalton, GA - The Whitfield County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) recently received an Whitfield County EMA Director Claude Craig displays AED that was recently purchased for the agency's mobile command vehicle- webWhitfield County EMA Director Claude Craig displays AED that was recently purchased for the agency's mobile command vehicle.Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to place on board the agency's mobile command vehicle. The AED was provided with federal funds through the North Georgia Health District's Emergency Preparedness Department.

According to Claude Craig, director of Whitfield County EMA, "I was concerned we did not have an AED in the mobile command vehicle and there is not always an EMS unit or Fire unit in the area of the mobile command post. Considering budget restrictions, we are pleased our local public health district could positively respond to our request for the AED. We and our other community partners train together, respond together and exercise together, and this is just another way we are making our community better prepared for emergencies."

AEDs improve defibrillation response to sudden cardiac arrests experienced by adults and children. Chances of full recovery from sudden cardiac arrest decrease with each minute the patient goes without defibrillation; therefore, having this AED readily available in the mobile command vehicle is a potentially life-saving provision.
Dalton, GATwo Whitfield County residents are undergoing rabies post-exposure treatments as a result of exposure to a pet cat that the Georgia Public Health Laboratory has now confirmed as positive for rabies.

rabies virusRabies virus: characteristically bullet shaped virion. Rabies is an extremely dangerous disease, often transmitted by the bite of an infected animal. The 15-year old cat had bitten its owner and exposed the owner’s fiancé to the disease before it died. The positive test result for rabies was returned on October 26, 2012.

The cat was reported to have had rabies vaccinations in the past but was not currently vaccinated. Because of its age and since the animal was an indoor cat, it was thought that the probability of rabies was very small. In fact, the cat’s owner could not recall an incident when the cat may have been exposed to rabies.

The owner lives in the Middle Summit Drive area of Dalton between Cleveland Highway and Waring Road, which is a highly developed area of condominiums and apartments; therefore, public health officials went door-to-door delivering rabies notices.