The Coastal Health District of Georgia serves the counties of Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long & McIntosh

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Feral Cat in Glynn Co. Tests Positive for Rabies

A feral cat in the Waverly Pines neighborhood in Brunswick has tested positive for rabies. At least three residents were exposed to the cat and have been advised to follow up with a healthcare professional.

Several species of wild animals that are native to coastal Georgia – including raccoons, foxes, and bats – can carry rabies. Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals. The Glynn County Health Environmental Health office offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:

  • Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
  • Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines by four months of age, followed by a booster shot one year later, and another one every year as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
  • Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.

Symptoms of rabies in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth, and paralysis.

If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact Glynn County Animal Control at 912-554-7500 and the Glynn County Health Department Environmental Health office at 279-2940.

Bryan Co. Save a Life Youth Health Summit Scheduled for June 23

The Coastal Health District Adolescent Health and Youth Development (AHYD) Program, in partnership with Prevention by RCC and Bryan County Family Connection, will hold the Save a Life Youth Health Summit from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 23, at the Richmond Hill Teen Center located at 185 Ball Park Road in Richmond Hill. The Summit is free for youth ages 10-19, parents, and educators.

Attendees will take park in the CPR Heartsaver Certification Class and education on suicide prevention, bullying prevention, and bystander intervention. For educators, completing the suicide prevention education class will result in one clock hour for National Board of Certified Counselors, Inc., continuing education credits. Lunch will be provided and there will also be raffle prizes and other giveaways.

Space is limited and registration is required. To register the registration form below and email it to or

Save a Life Youth Health Summit Reg Form

Health Departments Now Offer New Shingles Vaccine

Health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties are now offering Shingrix, a new vaccine to help protect against shingles, a painful rash that is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingrix also protects against postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), severe pain that can occur at the site of the shingles rash even after the rash clears up. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) voted to recommend the vaccine in adults ages 50 and older.

The previous vaccine for shingles – Zostavax – was recommended for those 60 and older. According to the CDC, Shingrix is recommended for healthy adults 50 and older even if they have previously had shingles, received Zostavax, or are unsure if they have had chickenpox.

“Being able to offer the Shingrix vaccine means that we can protect even more people against shingles,” said Coastal Health District Immunization Coordinator, Paige Lightsey, R.N. “When we can offer a vaccine that provides even more coverage against a disease, it’s a good day in public health.”

Shingrix is given in two doses separated by two to six months. According to the CDC, two doses of Shingrix is more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and PHN.

About one in every three people in the United States will get shingles. The risk of shingles increases as you get older. There is no maximum age for getting the Shingrix vaccine.

For more information on the Shingrix vaccine, click HERE.

Mosquito Prevention

Spring is here and summer isn’t far behind. That means families taking part in more outdoor activities and the chance to run into pesky mosquitoes. But mosquitoes are more than just pests, they can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The best way to protect yourself from mosquito bites is to use EPA-registered insect repellents containing 20 to 30 percent DEET, Picardin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Wearing light colored clothing with long sleeves, long pants, and socks will also help prevent mosquito bites.

One of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of mosquito-borne viruses is controlling the mosquito population by eliminating standing water around the home and in the yard. Residents are urged to clean up around their homes, yards, and communities and get rid of unnecessary items that can hold water and turn into mosquito breeding grounds. After every rainfall, tip out water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys and wading pools, buckets, etc. If it holds water and you don’t need it (old tires, bottles, cans), toss it out. For containers without lids or that are too big to tip over or toss out (bird baths, garden pools), use larvicides such as Mosquito Dunks or Pre-Strike Mosquito Torpedoes and follow the label instructions. These larvicides will not hurt birds or animals. In addition, clean out gutters, remove piles of leaves,and keep vegetation cut low to prevent landing sites for adult mosquitoes.

Residents are always encouraged to remember the 5 D’s of Prevention:

  • Dusk/Dawn – Mosquitoes usually bite at dusk and dawn, so avoid or limit outdoor activity at these times.
  • Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed.
  • DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
  • Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water because they are excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

Controlling the mosquito population has to be a community-wide effort. If we all do our part to remove places where mosquitoes can breed and take precautions to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes then we can lessen the risk of getting mosquito-borne diseases.

For more information on mosquito-borne illness and mosquito prevention, click HERE.


Public Health Officials Urge Residents Who Meet Criteria to Apply to Hurricane Registry for Those with Functional, Access, or Medical Needs

Hurricane season is quickly approaching and the time to prepare is now. Health department officials in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties strongly encourage residents who have certain healthcare needs and no way to evacuate if a storm is coming to apply to the Hurricane Registry for those with functional, access, or medical needs.

The Hurricane Registry for those with functional, access, or medical needs is a list maintained by the health department of residents who may need transportation or medical assistance and have no resources such as family members, neighbors, or friends to help them evacuate if a hurricane is threatening. Residents must apply to be on the Registry and can do so by calling toll-free, 1-833-CHD-REGISTER (1-833-243-7344) and following the phone prompts which will connect them directly with their county health department. The application can also be downloaded at Residents who meet criteria and get on the Registry will be evacuated when there is serious threat of a hurricane.

Those with functional or access needs – including children or adults with physical, sensory, or intellectual disabilities who need assistance with the activities of daily living including eating, taking medication, dressing, bathing, communicating, transferring from bed to chair and chair to bed, and toileting – will be evacuated to a gymnasium type setting far enough inland so that they are safe from the storm. The accommodations at the shelter will be basic (a cot with 20-40 square feet of space, bathroom facilities, meals, etc.) and the shelter may be several hours away.

Those with medical needs – including those who need the help of trained medical professionals for things like IV medication or who may be dependent on a respirator or other medical equipment – may be taken to a healthcare facility which will likely be located several hours inland.

Anyone who lives in a nursing home, assisted living, or personal care facility is not eligible for the registry and must follow their facility’s emergency plan. The Registry is truly a last resort but it is important that local emergency management agency and public health department officials have a list of residents who have certain needs and no other way to evacuate should that become necessary.

The time to apply for the Registry is when there are no storms threatening. It is important to note that Registry applications will stop being accepted 72 hours prior to the arrival of tropical storm force winds.

For more information on the Hurricane Registry for those with functional, access, or medical needs, click HERE.

Hurricane Registry for those with functional, access, or medical needs

The key to hurricane season is preparation. That’s why public health and emergency management officials in coastal Georgia maintain a Hurricane Registry for those with functional, access, or medical needs. The Hurricane Registry is for residents with certain healthcare needs who have no way to evacuate – no transportation and no friends or family members who can help – if a hurricane is threatening.

Those with functional or access needs include children or adults with physical, sensory, or intellectual disabilities who need assistance with the activities of daily living such as eating, taking medication, dressing, bathing, and communicating. Residents with medical needs include those who require the support of trained medical professionals.

Residents must apply to be on the Hurricane Registry and can do so by calling toll-free, 1-833-CHD-REGISTER (1-833-243-7344). More information on the Hurricane Registry – along with the application – can be found HERE.

The Hurricane Registry for those with functional, access, or medical needs is a last resort but if you or someone you know may qualify, don’t wait to apply.

E.coli Illness in Georgia Linked to Multi-state Outbreak; Infections Tied to Romaine Lettuce from Arizona


 ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed one case of E. coli infection in Georgia that is linked to the multi-state outbreak of E. coli. The CDC has identified romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region as the likely source of the outbreak strain of E. coli. Eighty-four people from 19 states have been infected so far.

The Georgia case linked to the multi-state outbreak of E. coli is a metro Atlanta teenager and was hospitalized, but has since been released. The individual ate salad containing romaine lettuce at different restaurants in the metro area, and also ate bagged romaine purchased at a local grocery store.

Symptoms of E. coli infection usually develop between 2-8 days after contact with the bacteria. Most people experience diarrhea (that can be bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting. Some infections are very mild and people recover within a week. Other infections are severe or even life-threatening.

“This particular strain of E. coli has resulted in more hospitalizations than we would normally expect with this type of outbreak,” said Cherie Drenzek, DVM, state epidemiologist. “It is crucial that the public understands how serious E. coli infections can be, and to heed all recommended precautions about avoiding romaine lettuce for the time being.”

The CDC recommends:

  • Consumers avoid all romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region, including whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce.
  • Understand that product labels often do not identify growing regions; do not eat or buy romaine lettuce it if you do not know where it was grown.
  • Don’t take chances – if you are not sure what romaine lettuce is or what it looks like, do not eat it.
  • Washing lettuce will not eliminate E. coli – the bacteria can stick to leafy surfaces or hide in microscopic crevices.
  • Contact your healthcare providerif you have diarrhea that lasts for more than three days or is accompanied by high fever, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine.

For more information log on to

About the Georgia Department of Public Health

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is the lead agency in preventing disease, injury and disability; promoting health and well-being; and preparing for and responding to disasters. DPH’s main functions include: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Maternal and Child Health, Infectious Disease and Immunization, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Emergency Medical Services, Pharmacy, Nursing, Volunteer Health Care, the Office of Health Equity, Vital Records, and the State Public Health Laboratory. For more information about DPH visit


STD Awareness: Take Control of Your Sexual Health

Free Mammograms for Women in Chatham Co. Who Meet Eligibility Criteria

The Chatham County Health Department’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) is partnering with the St. Joseph’s/Candler Mobile Mammography Program to offer free mammograms from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, April 30, at the Chatham County Health Department located at 1395 Eisenhower Drive in Savannah. Women who meet certain annual income guidelines and are 40-64 years of age without insurance will be eligible to receive a screening mammogram at no cost.

Appointments are preferred but walk-ins will be accepted. To make an appointment, please call 356-2946.

Click HERE for more information on BCCP.

Long County Board of Health Discusses Flu; Staffing

Updates on flu season, the 2018 Long County Health Department budget, and health department staffing topped the agenda items at Long County Board of Health meeting held in early March.

Board members RoseZena Baggs, Dr. Robert Waters, Mike Riddle, Florence Baggs, Kelly Wingate, and Cathy Stapleton were in attendance along with health department staff and several members of the eight-county Coastal Health District. Coastal Health District Health Director, Dr. Lawton Davis, updated the Board on what has been a long, terrible flu season. Although flu activity is finally starting to decrease across the region and state, there have been 25 flu-associated deaths in the Coastal Health District. None of those deaths occurred in Long County.

Coastal Health District Administrator, Brent Jordan, informed the board that there are no proposed cuts to the Long County Health Department budget. Jordan also presented the revised 2018 fiscal year budget. The proposed 2019 budget will be presented to the Board for approval at the next meeting scheduled for June 14.

The Long County Health Department has a new county nurse manager. Lisa Palmer, R.N., recently joined the health department but is not a newcomer to public health. Palmer joined public health in 1991 as a perinatal case manager and worked with all public health programs for 17 years before joining the Liberty County School System.

“I’m thrilled to be able to come back to public health and look forward to serving the residents of Long County,” said Palmer.

The Long County Health Department is now fully staffed and open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The health department offers a variety of services including immunizations for children and adults, breast and cervical cancer screening for low-income or uninsured women, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, health checks for children, and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program which provides nutritious foods and nutrition education for low and moderate-income women and children who are at risk of developing nutrition related problems. More information on health department services can be found at or by calling the health department at 545-2107.

Long County Environmental Health Manager, Linus Woodard notified the Board that there have been 51 septic system permits issued, 17 well water tests performed, nine well water permits issued, and several food service inspections completed since the last meeting. The revised swimming pool regulations will be presented to the Board at the June meeting.

Additional discussion between public health staff and board members took place regarding dangerous dog hearings. The Long County Board of Commissioners recently voted to have members of the Board of Health oversee the animal hearing board should a dangerous dog incident happen. The Board of Health voted on and approved Mike Riddle and Dr. Lawton Davis to lead the animal hearing board.

All Long County Board of Health meetings are open to the public. The next meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 14, at the Long County Health Department located at 584 N. Macon Street in Ludowici.