We are responsible for the prevention, investigation, mitigation, and control of over 70 communicable diseases in Putnam County. Our health department staff provides health education, utilizes multiple surveillance tools, gathers information from health care providers and residents during disease investigations, and responds to all disease outbreaks.

On a routine basis, we utilize many local and state tools for both passive and active disease surveillance, gathering real-time information and a clear snapshot of disease and outbreak patterns at a local, state and national level. In addition, we collaborate with health care providers, schools and the community to minimize illness, hospitalization and death from vaccine preventable and other diseases through public outreach, education and its vaccination program.

Please browse the menu on the left to learn more about Communicable Disease services offered by our department. 

If you have any questions, please call (845) 808-1390.

 

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C PhotosHepatitis C is a serious liver disease that, over time, can lead to serious liver damage, cirrhosis (scarring), and liver cancer.  Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants. Diagnosing Hepatitis C early is extremely important as this virus often presents without any symptoms and may go undetected for years. According to the CDC, baby boomers are 5 times more likely to have contracted Hepatitis C than other American adults. In fact, more than 75% of American adults with Hepatitis C are baby boomers.

Early detection can lead to early treatment. We provide Hepatitis C rapid antibody testing at our free testing clinics.

Hepatitis C testing is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 locations. Click here to see whether you are eligible for free Hepatitis C testing:

  • The Village of Brewster (121 Main Street, Brewster NY)
    4th Tuesday of each month: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
  • The Health Department office (1 Geneva Road, Brewster NY; entrance above the DMV)
    All other Tuesdays: 1:30pm – 3:30pm
    Every Thursdays: 10am-12pm

    For more information about Hepatitis C, please visit the CDC’s website by clicking here.

    If you have any questions, please call (845) 808-1390.

 

HIV Services

Our health department offers on-site HIV screening and diagnosis clinics conducted at two county locations. Putnam County and NYS residents can either call for an appointment or walk in to the twice-weekly clinic to obtain free testing. Any individual whose testing confirms an HIV diagnosis is linked to medical care and other related services. All clinic services are offered free of charge.

Free anonymous or confidential HIV testing is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at two Putnam County Department of Health locations:

  • The Village of Brewster (121 Main Street, Brewster NY)
    4th Tuesday of each month: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
  • The Health Department office (1 Geneva Road, Brewster NY; entrance above the DMV)
    All other Tuesdays: 1:30pm – 3:30pm
    Every Thursdays: 10am-12pm

For more information about HIV/AIDS, please visit the CDC’s website by clicking here.

For HIV Testing & Counseling Services, please call (845) 808-1390, ext. 43114. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome.

 

Mosquito & Tick-borne Diseases

tickWest Nile Virus
Following 2011’s confirmation of the first case of West Nile virus in a Putnam resident, our staff responded to public concerns and also applied environmentally friendly mosquito control measures. These prevention efforts reinforced measures to reduce or eliminate breeding areas for mosquitoes. West Nile Virus educational efforts continue to be routinely incorporated into public presentations, as well as at health fairs.

Lyme Disease
Lyme disease continues to be a major health issue and is reportable to the New York State Department of Health. Our health department provides residents with the latest information about Lyme disease prevention and physicians with alerts about new, emerging tick-borne illnesses. Information is distributed via media, special educational presentations, a PCDOH physician newsletter, social media and other promotional outreach programs. Tick removal kits are distributed widely to local camp operators, the general public during presentations, and to individuals who come to the Health Department for tick identification.

Other Prevalent Diseases

Other tick-borne diseases that are prevalent and also reportable include Anaplasmosis, E. chaffeensis, and Babesiosis.

Click here for more information about ticks & lyme disease.
If you have any questions, please call (845) 808-1390.

FAQs- Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Lyme Disease?
Where are infected ticks found?
What do these ticks look like?
How can I avoid being bitten?
What should I do if I am bitten?
What are the symptoms of Lyme Disease?
How is Lyme Disease treated?

What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection, spread by the bite of a back-legged (deer) tick.


Where are infected ticks found?
In the United States, infected ticks can be found in the Northeast, including New York State, in the upper Midwest, and along the Northwest Coast.


What do these ticks look like?
In the spring and summer, these ticks are black/brown in color and can be about the size of a dot at the end of a sentence. In fall, the tick is reddish with a black plate on its back and is about the size of a sesame seed.


How can I avoid being bitten?

  • Wear light-colored clothing.
  • Tuck long pants into socks and shirts into pants.
  • Avoid heavily wooded areas and high grass where ticks are known to inhabit.
  • Check yourself for ticks often while outdoors and again after returning home.
  • Check pets for ticks.
  • Use repellents containing DEET sparingly on clothes, and only on exposed skin.


What should I do if I am bitten?
Remove the tick with a fine-pointed tweezer, as close to the skin as possible without squeezing its body. Pull steadily and firmly without twisting or turning. Save the tick by placing it in alcohol; it can be identified by the Health Department


What are the symptoms of Lyme Disease?
Often, a circular rash appears at the bite site within three days of being bitten. Flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, body aches and chills are also common. Without treatment, facial palsy, heart problems, nervous system involvement, and chronic arthritis may develop.


How is Lyme Disease treated?
Lyme Disease is treatable with antibiotics. The earlier treatment begins, the easier it is to prevent long-term problems.

 

Rabies

March 2013 Rabies Bingo dog w, Dr. Heiber web

Rabies will result in death if it is left untreated in humans and domestic pet mammals. If a county resident (or visitor) has a potential rabies exposure, our trained rabies program staff makes a decision regarding treatment. Our nurses work with area health care providers and the exposed individuals to ensure accurate and timely completion of Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis. Nurses and environmental staff work with the local hospital and area health care providers to follow county residents through their Rabies prophylaxis regimen and completion of this protocol, in addition to providing educational presentations to the community as needed.

Click here for more information for rabies.
If you have any questions, please call (845) 808-1390.

FAQs- Frequently Asked Questions:
Detailed Rabies Information
Rabies Fact Sheet
What should I do if bitten by a wild animal?
What should I do if bitten by a pet dog or cat?
What information should I provide to the Health Department when reporting an incident?
What should I do if I see a wild animal, especially a fox, bat, skunk, or raccoon?
What should I do if a wild animal is threatening people or pets?
What should I do if my pet is exposed to an animal that might be rabid?
What can I do to protect myself against Rabies?
Where can I get more information about Rabies?
What to do if I found a bat in my house? 

Pet Owner FAQs:

Fines
Exemptions
Where can I get my pet vaccinated?
When should my pet receive its first rabies vaccination?
When should my pet receive its second rabies vaccination?
After my pet gets its second rabies shot, when is the next booster shot due?
What proof will I have that my pet received its rabies shots?
What if my pet needs to be taken to the veterinarian?
If my pet bites a person, does it have to be euthanized (put to sleep)? 

What should I do if bitten by a wild animal?

  1. Immediately wash the wound with lots of soap and running water.
  2. Capture the animal, if possible, so it can be tested.  Take care to prevent additional bites or damage to the animal’s head.
  3. Call the Putnam County Health Department as soon as possible at (845) 808-1390. If it is outside of normal business hours please dial (845) 808-1390 ext. 3. An employee will call you back.
  4. SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE PROMPTLY.  It is best to contact the Health Department first, but you may call your own doctor for advice.
  5. If necessary, a dead animal may be kept on ice, double bagged in plastic, until it can be tested.  The Putnam County Health Department will arrange for testing. Always wear gloves, use a shovel and clean the area and tools with one part bleach to 10 parts water.  Keep the dead animal in a protected area away from people and other animals.

What should I do if bitten by a pet dog or cat?

  1. Immediately wash the wound with lots of soap and running water.
  2. Obtain the pet owner’s name, address, and telephone number.  Find out if the animal has a current rabies vaccination, write down the rabies tag number and obtain Veterinarian information.
  3. Call the Putnam County Health Department as soon as possible at (845) 808-1390. If it is outside of normal business hours please dial (845) 808-1390 ext. 3. An employee will call you back.
  4. SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE PROMPTLY.  It is best to contact the Health Department first, but you may call your own doctor for advice.

What information should I provide to the Health Department when reporting an incident?

  • Type and description of animal including any features or marks;
  • If it was a pet, whether it wore a collar or tags and where it lives;
  • How the bite occurred;
  • Whether the animal has been seen in the area before and what direction it was traveling

What should I do if I see a wild animal, especially a fox, bat, skunk, or raccoon?

  • Stay away and keep your children away.
  • Keep pets indoors.
  • Let the animal go away on its own.
  • You may call a nuisance wildlife control officer who will remove the animal for a fee.

What should I do if a wild animal is threatening people or pets?
Call the local police or during business hours call the Putnam County Health Department at (845) 808-1390.

What should I do if my pet is exposed to an animal that might be rabid?
If your pet has been in a fight with another animal, wear gloves to handle it. Isolate it from other animals and people for several hours. Call your veterinarian. Your vaccinated pet will need a booster dose of Rabies vaccine within five days of the exposure. Unvaccinated animals exposed to a known or suspected rabid animal must be confined for six months or humanely destroyed.

  1. Wear gloves to handle your pet.  Saliva from the rabid animal may be on your pet’s fur. Do not touch your face after handling the pet unless you have removed gloves and thoroughly washed your hands.
  2. Isolate your pet from other animals and people for several hours.
  3. Call the Putnam County Health Department for advice.
  4. Call your veterinarian.  Vaccinated pets will need a rabies booster shot within five days of the attack.
  5. An unvaccinated pet must be quarantined for six months or humanely destroyed.

What can I do to protect myself against Rabies?

  • Do not feed, touch or adopt wild or stray animals.
  • Vaccinate your pets: Be sure your dogs and cats are up-to-date on their Rabies vaccinations. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid wildlife and man. Protect them, and you may reduce your risk of exposure to Rabies. Vaccines for dogs and cats after three months of age are effective for a one-year period. Re-vaccinations are effective for up to three years. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors.
  • Keep family pets indoors at night. Feed pets indoors and never leave them out doors unattended. Don’t leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.
  • Don’t attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or other foods which may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cap or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your chimney with screens.
  • Tell children not to touch any animal they do not know: Encourage children to immediately tell an adult if they are bitten by any animal.
  • Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to your County health authority.
  • If a wild animal is on your property, let it wander away. Bring children and pets indoors alert neighbors who are outside. You may contact a nuisance wildlife control officer who will remove the animal for a fee.
  • Keep a pair of work gloves in hand in case your pet is attacked.

Where can I get more information about Rabies?
Contact your County health authority. They are your best source of additional Rabies information. Each County health authority in New York State has a plan to respond to Rabies. Contact them for details regarding human treatment and animal submission/shipment for testing.
Putnam County Department of Health: (845) 808-1390

After hours, please call (845) 808-1390 ext. 3

What to do if I found a bat in my house?
Four percent of bats test positive for Rabies. If there is any chance that the bat had contact with a person or pet, however, the bat should be captured and tested for rabies. If you find a bat in your house, call the Putnam County Health Department at (845) 808-1390

If there was any chance that contact with a person or pet occurred, or you are not sure if contact occurred, DO NOT release the bat.  Call the Putnam County Health Department to arrange for the bat to be tested for rabies.

Capture the Bat Video

  1. Turn on room lights and close the windows.
  2. Close the room and closet doors.
  3. Wait for the bat to land.
  4. Wearing gloves, place a coffee can, pail, or similar container over the bat.
  5. Slide a piece of cardboard under the container to trap the bat.
  6. Firmly hold the cardboard in place against the top of the container, turn it right side up and tape the cardboard tightly to the container.

Pet Owner FAQs: What pet owners need to know about Rabies vaccination requirements
State law requires rabies vaccinations (shots) for all cats, dogs and domesticated ferrets! (Effective November 20, 2002, this information sheet must be provided by pet dealers to consumers upon point of sale of cats, dogs, and ferrets.)

Fines
If your dog, cat or domesticated ferret is not vaccinated, is not up-to-date on its vaccinations, or is not properly confined after biting someone, as the owner you will be subject to a fine not to exceed $200 for each offense.

Exemptions
The vaccination requirements shall not apply to any dog, cat, domesticated ferret if the animal is transported through New York state and remains in the state 15 days or less; the animal is confined to the premises of an incorporated society devoted to the care of lost, stray or homeless animals; a licensed veterinarian has determined that the vaccination will adversely affect the animal’s health; the animal is confined to the premises of a college or other educational or research institution for research purposes; or if the animal is un-owned (feral, wild, not socialized).

Where can I get my pet vaccinated?
All counties are required to provide a free vaccination clinic every four months.  Contact your county health department for the schedule in your area.  Rabies vaccinations are also available from your veterinarian.  If you have questions about new vaccines developed specifically for cats and for pets at younger ages, contact your county health department or veterinarian.

When should my pet receive its first rabies vaccination?
The law requires that your pet’s first rabies vaccination be given no later than four months after its date of birth. Many rabies vaccines are licensed for use at three months, although some may be given at younger ages.

When should my pet receive its second rabies vaccination?
Your pet should receive its second rabies vaccination within one year after the first vaccination.  The second rabies shot and all shots thereafter are sometimes called booster shots.

After my pet gets its second rabies shot, when is the next booster shot due?
After the second rabies shot, you only need to get additional booster shots every three years, if the vaccination clinic or your veterinarian is using a rabies vaccine licensed for three years.

What proof will I have that my pet received its rabies shots?
The veterinarian, or a person under the veterinarian’s supervision, will provide you with a certificate as proof that your pet has been vaccinated.  The veterinarian’s office will also keep a copy of your pet’s vaccination certificate.  The law requires the veterinarian to provide the vaccination certificate to any public health official for any case involving your dog, cat or ferret that may have been exposed to rabies, or in any case of possible exposure of a person or another animal to rabies.

What if my pet needs to be taken to the veterinarian?
Whenever you bring your pet to a veterinarian, s/he will verify if the animal is up-to-date on its rabies shots.  If the animal is not up-to-date on its rabies shots or is exempt due to a medical condition, or if the veterinarian cannot find proof of the animal’s rabies vaccination history, you may request your pet be vaccinated at that time.

If my pet bites a person, does it have to be euthanized (put to sleep)?
If your pet bites a person and you wish to avoid euthanizing and testing it for rabies, it must be confined and observed for ten days. During the ten-day confinement period, the county or a designated party must verify that your pet is under confinement and observation, and has remained healthy during and at the end of the ten-day period.

 

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

HIV testingOur Department provides diagnostic and treatment services for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) to Putnam County and New York State residents. Services are contracted with the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) at Brewster Open Door.

All STD clinic patients are offered screening for the following services:

  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Syphilis

Contacts of Chlamydia cases are provided expedited treatment. Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines provided by the NYSDOH are offered and administered to clients with high-risk behavior. Female clients are given pregnancy testing if requested.

Click here for more information about sexually transmitted diseases.

For STD Testing & Counseling Services please contact Brewster Open Door at (845) 279-6999.  The office is located at 155 East Main Street, Brewster, NY 10509 

 

Tuberculosis

Our health department’s Tuberculosis (TB) Program conducts surveillance, screening, evaluation, treatment, and reporting activities to reduce the incidence of tuberculosis among residents in Putnam County. Individuals with active TB receive treatment and are monitored closely. Individuals with Latent Tuberculosis Infection (LTBI) are offered treatment, which significantly reduces their risk of developing active TB and ultimately reduces the chance of others becoming infected.

TB testing is available to clients without risk factors at a nominal charge. Cases of suspected, active, or latent TB infection are offered free diagnostic testing, physical examination, and treatment.

Click here for more information about tuberculosis (TB).

If you have any questions about our TB clinic, please call (845) 808-1390 x43240