Communicable Disease Program

A communicable disease is one that is spread from one person to another through a variety of ways that include: contact with blood and bodily fluids; breathing in an airborne virus; or by being bitten by an animal or insect.

Examples of communicable diseases include:

What is the Health Department’s Role in 

Communicable Disease?

ECHD maintains a program designed to reduce the occurrence of communicable disease. We do this by reporting diseases, disease surveillance (using tools to observe diseases), disease investigation (asking questions to find the cause) and minimizing the spread of disease.

Diseases We Investigate

As a local health department, we investigate/report many communicable diseases, the most common are below. For a full list of reporting requirements, click here.

  • Tuberculosis
  • Sexually transmitted infections; HIV/AIDS
  • Transmitters of diseases communicable to humans; animal cases of rabies; and post-exposure rabies prophylaxis for humans
  • COVID-19 (report)
  • Influenza (report)
  • Foodborne pathogens (causes of food illnesses)
  • Tick-borne and mosquito pathogens.

How an investigation is conducted:

  1. Begin a case investigation within 24 hours of receipt of the report.
  2. Investigate any report of an unusual disease or of an outbreak of any disease
  3. We must notify NYSDOH of the unusual disease or outbreak
  4. If there is an outbreak of a communicable disease or signs that one may occur, we can coordinate with medical providers for – a diagnosis, laboratory screening, treatment, and medical management. We will work to verify the situation and take appropriate action to manage the outbreak.
  5. Coordinate with medical providers and laboratories to submit specimens related to actual or suspected communicable disease cases. i.e. an animal that is suspected to have rabies.
  6. Provide health education as needed to the general public and medical community to increase awareness of communicable disease issues and the control measures required to prevent the spread of disease.
How Diseases Are Reported

Physicians have primary responsibility for reporting, school nurses, laboratory directors, infection control practitioners, daycare center directors, health care facilities, Summer camps, state institutions and any other individuals/locations providing health care services are also required to report communicable diseases.

Reports should be made to the local health department in the county in which the patient resides and need to be submitted within 24 hours of diagnosis. However, some diseases warrant prompt action and should be reported immediately to local health departments by phone.

For more information on communicable disease reporting, call us 518-873-3500.

Communicable Disease Surveillance & Prevention

Disease surveillance is about collecting, analyzing, and interpreting large amounts of information from various sources. This information is then used to evaluate how effective control and preventative health measures are.

Surveillance systems use different components to collect and analyze health information. These components include diagnostic testing, information technology, and reporting by clinicians, public health specialists, and laboratory workers.

Prevention includes:

Provide health education as needed to the general public and medical community to increase awareness of communicable disease issues and the control measures required to prevent the spread of disease.

Communicable Disease Hot Topics


RABIES – About, Prevention, Wild Animal Interactions & more

RABIES (CDC) – Transmission, what is an “exposure”& when to seek care


TICKS – Lyme Disease & Other Diseases Ticks Carry; Tick removal & more (NYSDOH)

TICKS – Proofing Your Yard, Preventing bites, Diseases Ticks Carry (CDC)


Mpox College Guidance (NYSDOH)

Mpox and Sexual Health (NYSDOH)

Mpox in New York State – June 2022 (NYSDOH)

Mpox – Frequently Asked Questions (CDC)


Keeping Backyard Poultry (CDC)

Healthy Families and Flocks

Learn About Salmonella Infection





KNOZIKA VIRUS (NYS Department of Health)

Mosquito Bite Prevention for Travelers

Zika Virus Testing – (NYSDOH)

Pregnancy Travel Advisory (NYSDOH)

Zika Virus – Locations, Questions, Pregnancy Risks & more (CDC)


NYSDOH has a comprehensive Hepatitis C website with sections dedicated to community members & providers.  Find testing, patient navigator resources, and support groups.

Help‑4‑Hep is a non-profit, peer-to-peer helpline where counselors work with patients to meet the challenges of hepatitis C head-on. Callers talk one-on-one with a real person, typically someone who has been personally affected by hepatitis C. The phone call, support, information, and linkage to care are all provided free of charge.

Help-4-Hep can help with client communications, support, referrals, and linkage to care.  Call toll-free 877-435-7443 or visit the website.

About Rabies ⬆
Only mammals (including people) can get rabies. In our area, rabies most often occurs in wild animals including raccoons, fox, coyotes, skunk, porcupines, groundhogs and bats.

Livestock including cattle, horses, goat, sheep and swine, can also get rabies.

Small rodents like mice, squirrels, chipmunks, rats and rabbits rarely get rabies.

Reptiles and amphibians don’t get rabies.

Behavior of Animals with Rabies

Behavior of animals with rabies

Animals with rabies may show unusual behavior for their species –

  • Friendliness
  • Irritability
  • Aggressiveness
  • Staggering
  • Convulsing
  • Choking

Once an animal starts showing unusual behavior due to rabies it will typically die within 10 days or less.



Ticks & Mosquitos ⬆

Deer Ticks, also known as Black-Legged Ticks, are the most commonly found ticks in Essex County; especially  in the Champlain Valley. Lyme Disease is the most commonly confirmed Deer Tick-borne disease being transmitted from ticks to people in Essex County.  However, there are other diseases - Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis - carried by the Deer Tick. There have been confirmed cases of these conditions in Essex County residents as well. Mosquitoes usually are considered a nuisance pest, but occasionally they can transmit viruses to people and some animals. These viruses can cause illness and even death. While your chances of being infected with a disease through a mosquito bite are very small, there are simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of being bitten.

Influenza (Flu)⬆

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Some people, such as people 65 years and older, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at higher risk of serious flu complications.

There are two main types of influenza (flu) viruses: types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.

The best way to reduce the risk of flu and its potentially serious complications is by getting vaccinated each year.

COVID-19 Wha's New for 2023-2024?⬆

What's Changed?

The 2023–2024 updated COVID-19 vaccines will be better at fighting currently circulating variants and restore protection against severe COVID-19 that may have decreased over time. 

What Has Not Changed?

COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are effective at protecting people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and dying.

As with other vaccine-preventable diseases, you are best protected from COVID-19 when you stay up to date with the recommended vaccinations.

COVID-19 vaccines recommended for use in the United States:

Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax

Mpox (formerly known as monkeypox)⬆

Mpox is caused by a virus that is related to the virus that causes smallpox.

If and when you are ready, the health department has onsite mpox vaccine appointments available.

JYNNEOS is a 2-dose vaccine developed to protect against mpox and smallpox infections. People need to get both doses of the vaccine for the best protection against mpox. The second dose should be given 4 weeks after the first dose.

For an appointment call 518-873-3500

STI/HIV/HCV (Hepatitis A,B,C) Testing & Counseling ⬆

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are caused by infections that are passed from one person to another during sexual contact.  Often people don't have any symptoms, so don't know they have an infection.  But sexually transmitted infections are very common; in fact about half of us will have some kind of infection in our lifetime.

HIV Counseling and Testing is recommended for everyone ages 13-64.  One in six (1/6) people with HIV do not know they are infected.

HCV Testing - Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus.  Most people with hepatitis C don’t know they have it.  It is spread from blood to blood.


Visit our Immunization Page

Visit our Clinic Page

Decades of research show that vaccines prevent disease. An overwhelming number of studies also show that they are safe and effective. But in recent years, some people have become concerned that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they prevent. An aggressive anti-vaccine movement is fueling their fears. Unfortunately, this has led some to delay or avoid vaccination.

It’s also one reason we are seeing the return of so many preventable diseases – like measles, mumps and whooping cough.

As a local health department we must:

  • ensure compliance with all immunization statutes and regulations;
  • assist with and follow-up on school immunization surveys;
  • provide education regarding the risks and benefits of immunizations for consumers;
  • conduct quality assurance activities with community health care providers including immunization practices, proper vaccine storage and handling, and compliance with immunization reporting requirements;
  • ensure proper stewardship of immunization resources and serve as a safety-net immunization provider; and
  • apply cost-based charges and make reasonable attempts to bill and collect fees for immunization services.

Flu Vaccine Information Statement

Patient Bill of Rights

Notice of Privacy Practice

Statement on Legislation Removing Non-Medical Exemption from School Vaccination Requirements

School Vaccination Requirements – NYSDOH Site Including Frequently Asked Questions

NYS Immunization Requirements for School Attendance Printable

Call for appointments 518-873-3500. 

COVID-19 Vaccine

Please visit our COVID-19 Vax page for the most up-to- date information

We can bill Medicaid, Medicare Part B, Child Health Plus, Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield or Fidelis Managed Care.  Present your card at your appointment to receive services at no charge.  If you are not covered by these health insurances we will provide you a receipt for service that you may submit to your insurance company to seek reimbursement.

We can now accept payment with GovPayNet – so you can swipe your debit or credit card here at our office or pay online.

Before you pay with GovPayNet we advise you to read the  GovPayNet Fee Schedule and  GovPayNet Terms of Service.

Please call our office at 518-873-3500 if you have questions about immunizations, fees or payment.

Top Immunization searches

Current immunization recommendations

School Requirements

Top 20 Questions and Answers About Immunizations 

We also field calls about vaccines and cancer prevention – such as the HPV vaccine.  

Traveler’s Clinics

Mountain Medical Urgent Care Services call 518-523-7575 or 518-897-1000

Plattsburgh Industrial Med. Testing call 518-562-2009

St. Lawrence County Department of Health Department call 315-386-2325

Warren County Public Health call 518-761-6580

In Vermont, UVM Travel Clinic call 802-847-1045

Traveler’s Vaccinations

NYSDOH Required Activities as a Local Health Department

We continually:

✅ Conduct outreach and education about communicable diseases and incidence of diseases in Essex County,

✅ Promote prevention strategies including immunizations for vaccine preventable diseases, and

✅ Provide updates regarding ECHD programs and services to community partners and the community at large.

See these tabs for more information about our Communicable Disease Program including: