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 CDC is 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!  

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

GaDPH 2018 CindyMariaSarahKrissyIsabel web

From left to right, Cindy Bailey of the Murray County Health Department and Maria Quintero, Krissy Harden and Isabel Barajas of the North Georgia Health District office are seated around Master Trainer Sarah Piper (in the middle) after their completion of the National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle change program.  

North Georgia – North Georgia Health District 1-2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health is proud to announce that select staff members have completed Lifestyle Coach training with the Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center (DTTAC) at Emory University.

Cindy Bailey of the Murray County Health Department in Chatsworth and Maria Quintero, Krissy Harden and Isabel Barajas of the North Georgia Health District office in Dalton join over 2000 people representing more than 700 organizations nationwide trained by DTTAC to deliver the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) lifestyle change program.

The National DPP is an evidence-based, yearlong program developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes through healthy lifestyle changes, focusing on healthy eating, weight loss and physical activity.

DTTAC Lifestyle Coach training is a highly interactive, two-day, in-person training that gives participants a full understanding of their role in the lifestyle change program. Lifestyle Coaches' ability to support participants, provide guidance, and facilitate the group is key to the success of the National DPP lifestyle change program so that participants can learn the skills they need to adopt life-long habits and prevent or delay type-2 diabetes. The North Georgia Health District Lifestyle Coaches will soon begin delivering the DPP lifestyle change program in our community by starting close to ‘home’ with public health co-workers in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties before they ultimately reach out to other organizations to offer the program.

Congratulations to Cindy, Maria, Krissy and Isabel for completion of the DTTAC Lifestyle Coach training and for moving forward with this valuable program in the district.

To learn more about DTTAC Lifestyle Coach training, visit

Rabies Warning Skunk web

Murray County, GA – North Georgia Health District officials announced today that two pet dogs in a heavily populated neighborhood in Chatsworth, Georgia may have been exposed to a skunk that has now tested positive for rabies. Officials warn that the skunk had been seen a few days earlier in the same neighborhood and any pets there could be exposed to other potentially infected animals. Therefore, all unvaccinated dogs and cats in the area should receive a rabies shot immediately. Pets overdue for a shot should be vaccinated, as well.

No human exposure to the skunk has been reported.

The skunk was found dead last week in the yard of a home within a neighborhood off Tom Gregory Drive behind Eton Elementary School. It is possible one or both dogs living at the home killed the skunk, potentially exposing them to rabies. However, one dog is vaccinated against the disease. Confirmation of the vaccination status for the other dog is pending.

As soon as Murray County Environmental Health staff received notice of positive test results for rabies in the skunk from the Georgia Public Health Laboratory, they canvassed the area, notifying neighbors of the incident and urged them to ensure their pets are currently vaccinated to protect them against any other animals that may have been exposed.

All residents are reminded to maintain rabies vaccinations in their pets and to avoid contact with unfamiliar animals, both wild and domesticated.

To learn more about rabies and how to protect against it, call the local county environmental health office. The number for Murray County Environmental Health is (706) 695-0266, ext. 371.

Additional rabies information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at

HPV Vaccine Preteens sm

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

6 Reasons to get HPV vaccine for your child

CDC recommends two doses of HPV vaccination at ages 11-12 to protect against cancers caused by HPV infections. See six important reasons to get HPV vaccine for your child, and talk to your local county health department in North Georgia about HPV cancer prevention at ages 11-12... your health department offers the vaccine! (Click the name of your county in the above toolbar for county health department contact and location information)

HPV is common virus that infects teens and adults. 80% of people will get an HPV infection in their lifetime. CDC logo. HPV vaccine is cancer prevention.1 HPV is common. Almost every person who is sexually active will acquire HPV at some time in their life without HPV vaccination. About 14 million Americans, including teens, become infected with HPV each year.

While most HPV infections will go away on their own, infections that don’t go away can cause certain types of cancer in men and women. HPV can cause:

- cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in women;

- cancers of the penis in men; and

- cancers of the anus and back of the throat (including the base of the tongue and tonsils) in men and women.


HPV vaccination works. 71%. Infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped 71 percent among teen girls. CDC logo. HPV vaccine is cancer prevention.2 HPV vaccination is preventing cancer-causing infections. Since HPV vaccination was introduced over 10 years ago, HPV infections have dropped signi­ficantly. Infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped 71 percent among teen girls.







HPV Vaccination prevents cancer. 30,000 cases of cancer could be prevented with HPV vaccination each year. Same as the average attendance for a baseball game. CDC logo. HPV vaccine is cancer prevention.3 HPV vaccination is cancer prevention. HPV causes over 32,000 cases of cancer in men and women every year in the U.S. HPV vaccination can prevent over 90% (30,000) of these cancers from ever developing by preventing the infections that cause those cancers.







Preventing cancer is better than treating it. HPV infections can cause six types of cancer, but doctors only routinely screen for cervical cancer. The other five types may not be detected until they cause health problems. CDC logo. HPV vaccine is cancer prevention.4 Getting HPV vaccine for your child now is better than treating an HPV cancer later in life. While doctors routinely screen for cervical cancer, there are no recommended cancer screening tests for the other 20,000 cases of cancers caused by HPV infections each year in the United States.

HPV vaccination can prevent these cancers from ever developing.







Your child can get protection from HPV cancers during the same visit they are protected against other serious diseases. CDC logo. HPV vaccine is cancer prevention.5 Three vaccines are recommended for 11-12 year olds to protect against the infections that can cause meningitis, HPV cancers, and whooping cough.

You can take advantage of any visit to your child’s doctor get recommended vaccines for your child, including sports physicals or annual checkups before the school year.






HPV vaccination provides safe, effective, and long-lasting protection. With nearly 100 million doses distributed in the U.S., data continues to show HPV vaccine is safe and effective. CDC logo. HPV vaccine is cancer prevention.6 You can give your child safe, effective, and long-lasting protection from cancers caused by HPV with two doses of HPV vaccine at ages 11-12. With over 100 million doses distributed in the United States, HPV vaccine has a reassuring safety record that’s backed by 10 years of monitoring and research.

Like any vaccine or medicine, HPV vaccines can cause side effects. The most common side effects are mild and include pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given; dizziness, fainting, nausea, and headache. Fainting after any vaccine, including HPV vaccine, is more common among adolescents.

To prevent fainting and injuries related to fainting, adolescents should be seated or lying down during vaccination and remain in that position for 15 minutes after the vaccine is given. The benefits of HPV vaccination far outweigh any potential risk of side effects. 

For more information on HPV vaccine, visit:

Your One-Stop Spot for All School State Health Requirements!

Back to School Rush Health Clinics in N GA Web Banner 2018

It's hot fun in the summertime now, but those school bells will soon be ringing... does your child meet all Georgia's health requirements for school registration? Click here to view all the state's school health requirements and then call or come to your county public health department in North Georgia in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens or Whitfield County to get your child up-to-date! This is your one-stop spot to take care of all your student's school health requirements. The health departments offer the required Hearing, Dental and Vision screening, BMI/Nutrition screening and Immunizations. Prices are affordable and various forms of Medicaid and health insurance are accepted.

Also, click below to get details on special Back To School Health Clinics being conducted by some of our county health departments during July!

Cherokee County Health Department - July 24th

Pickens County Health Department - July 24th

Fannin County Health Department - July 31st

FanHDBacktoSchool graphic July2018Is your child ready for the upcoming school year? The Fannin County Health Department is conducting a Back To School Rush Health Clinic on Tuesday, July 31st from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at their location in Blue Ridge. 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, Wellcare, and Peachcare for Kids are accepted. Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Ambetter, CIGNA, HUMANA, AETNA, Coventry and Meritain are also accepted. The health department is located at 95 Ouida Street in Blue Ridge, Georgia. For more information, call (706) 632-3023.

Preparedness and Safety Messaging for Hurricanes, Flooding, and Similar DisastersThe right message at the right time from the right person can save lives. Every natural disaster is unique and emergency responders have to quickly adapt to the ever-changing nature of a crisis. To be able to more quickly and effectively disseminate messages before, during, and after an emergency, many key messages can be written in the preparedness phase. CDC developed a reference document that contains key messages on hurricane and flood related health threats.

The Preparedness and Safety Messaging for Hurricanes, Flooding, and Similar Disasters can help local responders quickly create and adapt health communication products for affected communities. The document contains messages on various topics including food safety, carbon monoxide poisoning, waterborne diseases, and mold.

How to Use this Document

Public health and emergency management partners can add the key messages document as a resource to their communication plans that address hazards expected from extreme weather involving strong wind and high water. Partners can also use these messages to develop products with protective information for diverse audiences before, during, and after a hurricane, flood, or similar disaster.

Click on the name of your county in North Georgia - Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens or Whitfield - to contact your local county Health Department for more information about preparing for disaster and how you can access public health services.


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Your One-Stop Spot for All School State Health Requirements!

PicHDBacktoSchool WebGraphic July2018

Is your child ready for the upcoming school year? The Pickens County Health Department is conducting a Back To School Bash Health Clinic on Tuesday, July 24th from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the public health department in Jasper. The required Hearing, Dental, Vision and BMI/Nutrition Screenings will be available: Total cost for screenings is $50. Also, PicHDBacktoSchool flyer July2018immunizations will be provided for school-age children for $21.90 each (for uninsured or underinsured). Medicaid, including Amerigroup, Caresource, Peachstate and Wellcare, and Peachcare for Kids are accepted. Each child who attends gets a FREE Goody Bag with Crayons, Coloring Book, Toothbrush, Pamphlets and Coupons! The Pickens County Health Department is located at 60 Health Way in Jasper. For more information or to check on additional insurances accepted, call (706) 253-2821.


DPH LogoFrom the Georgia Department of Public Health website

GA Goes Hands Free web

The Hands-Free Georgia Act recently signed by Governor Nathan Deal is set to become law July 1. At that time, motorists cannot hold their phones while driving to read or text. Video recording and broadcast video is also prohibited. The law allows use of Bluetooth devices so drivers can answer calls or use GPS navigation. Enforcement of the law also begins July 1.

Use of a phone during driving is a form of distracted driving. Each day in the U.S. approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes reported to involve a distracted driver, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Distracted driving is when drivers divert their attention from driving to focus on something else,” said Elizabeth Head, M.P.H., deputy director of Injury Prevention at the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Types of distractions include:

  1. Visual, or taking your eyes off the road.
  2. Manual, or taking a hand off the wheel.
  3. Cognitive, or thinking about something other than the driving task.


“Phone use can result in all three forms of distraction,” said Head.

Using a phone is the second most commonly-reported form of distracted driving. (Being “lost in thought” is number one.)

There are many benefits to driving without distraction, especially due to phones. Anyone who has ever been injured in an auto accident, or grieved the loss of a loved one due to an auto accident, knows the potential cost of not giving the road your attention.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that 14 percent of all fatal distraction-affected crashes involved phone use, and a total of 486 people died in fatal crashes that involved phone-related activities as distractions.

Distraction occurs not just because of phones, but because of a driver’s state of mind which allows for distraction. The more you do, like use your phone, the less your brain can focus on driving. As your attention goes down, the chances for a crash go up.  

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia encourages individuals to take a pledge to avoid doing certain activities while driving. Take the pledge here.

Penalties for violators of the Hands-Free Georgia Act are $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second and three or more violations will result in fines of $150. First-time offenders may have their fee waived by purchasing a Bluetooth device and providing proof of the purchase.

Georgia is the 16th state to ban motorists from holding phones and other mobile devices while driving.

Find information about all the public health services available to you and your family at North Georgia Health District's county Health Departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties by clicking on the name of the county health department that's nearest you.