OUR REQUIRED ACTIVITIES
NYS DOH requires reporting of certain communicable diseases. The local health department is responsible for a communicable disease program designed to minimize the incidence and impact of communicable diseases.
Mandated activities include all disease-specific protocols established by NYSDOH:
✅ Conducting surveillance of communicable diseases;
✅ Investigating suspected or confirmed communicable diseases as reported by mandated reporters (providers, labs, schools, and others);
✅ Reporting public health communicable disease threats to NYSDOH;
✅ Verifying diagnoses and identifying sources of infections;
✅ Minimizing the spread of disease through early identification and prophylaxis of exposed persons;
✅ Maintaining the capacity to perform multiple simultaneous investigations; and
✅ Communicating [at least annually] with health care providers, clinics and laboratories about local data, diagnostic and treatment modalities and reporting requirements.
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.
As a local health department we are responsible for rabies surveillance, prevention and control. Our activities include:
✅ Following NYS Public Health Law that regulates rabies investigations for people and animals;
✅ Issuing notices of confinement or quarantine as necessary to prevent potential disease spread;
✅Ensuring people receive treatment for rabies exposures (called rabies post exposure prophylaxis (PEP);
✅ Providing rabies education & outreach;
✅ Providing free vaccination clinics throughout the county; and
✅ Completing all rabies reporting requirements.
Rabies is a virus that attacks the nervous system and if untreated, leads to death.
The virus is found in saliva, mucous membrane (eyes, nose, mouth) & nervous tissue (brain and spinal cord) fluid of infected animals.
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
Animals with rabies may show unusual behavior for their species –
Once an animal starts showing unusual behavior due to rabies it will typically die within 10 days or less.
Exposure to the rabies virus most often happens by an infected animal biting another animal.
Exposures can also happen if infectious material from a rabid animal (saliva, brain tissue, spinal fluid) has contact with an open wound or mucous membrane. Direct contact with a rabid or potentially rabid animal where a bite, open wound or mucous membrane contact cannot be ruled out – such as a bat in a room with a sleeping person, unattended child, intoxicated or otherwise mentally compromised person – are considered exposures. If there is any chance of exposure to a bat contact this health department immediately to discuss the situation.
Indirect contact – being in the same space, contact with feces or an object that had contact with a rabid or potentially rabid animal - is not considered an exposure.
If you have been bitten, scratched or have had contact with the saliva of an animal that you believe is rabid, wash the wound immediately with soap and water, and call your health care provider for care of wounds and a consult.
If your doctor recommends treatment, call this Department for assistance in planning treatment. It is critical that before seeking rabies treatment - post exposure prophylaxis shots - the bite or exposure is reported to this Department.
Mon-Fri 8 AM - 5 PM 518-873-3500
After Business Hours, Weekends , Holidays 1-877-270-7249
If You or Your Pet is bitten or has another exposure
Protect Your Pets and Livestock
The rabies virus can take weeks to months to incubate in an animal before the animal acts unusually or rabid. Protect yourself, your pets and livestock :
* Store bird seed, pet food & garbage indoors.
* Do not feed pets outdoors.
* Tightly lock outdoor compost & garbage.
New York State rabies law requires all pets (dogs, cats, ferrets) to be vaccinated against rabies by 4 months of age.
First time vaccinations of pets are good for 1 year. Booster vaccinations - those received after prior vaccination - are effective for 3 years.
This Pet Owner Fact Sheet is a good list of frequently asked questions and answers about pet ownership and rabies. Owners of pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept on a leash when outdoors or in a physically confined area.
This Department provides free rabies vaccine clinics for all pet dogs, cats and ferrets throughout Essex County every year. Donations of $5 per pet is appreciated.
To ensure the safety of our staff, residents & pets, please:
You must have a certificate as proof of vaccination.
This Department is not able to accept a tag as proof of vaccination.
**Keep pets in vehicles unless directed otherwise.
Rabies Clinics 2022 - Rabies clinics have concluded for 2022. The page will be updated once 2023 dates are confirmed.
NOTE: We know how busy pet clinics can be. Pre-registration helps people & pets move most quickly through the clinic line; it doesn't mean those who have pre-registered won't have to wait in line. Our goal is to serve 60 pets/hour - that's 1 pet/minute!
Handling Dead Animals
Wildlife Rehabilitators are licensed through NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Find a wildlife Rehabilitator Near Your (search by county).
TICKS & TICK-BORNE DISEASES
BACKYARD FLOCKS AND FAMILIES
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.
*Please note, The Health Department does not have Flu Vaccines at this time. *Please note, The Health Department does not have Flu Vaccines at this time. We are maximizing our efforts to ensure COVID-19 Boosters to all eligible as the demand remains high. To assist in finding flu vaccine locations in Essex County, please visit the link Flu Vaccine Finder.
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.
Get your flu vaccine by scheduling an appointment with your regular medical provider or at your local pharmacy.
Find locations offering flu vaccines through HealthMap Vaccine Finder.
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:
School Vaccination Requirements - NYSDOH Site Including Frequently Asked Questions
Call for appointments 518-873-3500.
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.
This Department charges an at-cost rate plus administration fee —our rate/fees are adjusted down using a sliding fee scale based on household income.
We can now accept payment with GovPayNet - so you can swipe your debit or credit card here at our office or pay online.
Please call our office at 518-873-3500 if you have questions about immunizations, fees or payment.
We also field calls about vaccines and cancer prevention - such as the HPV vaccine.
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
✅ 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: