Communicable Disease Program

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Communicable diseases,  also known as infectious or contagious diseases, spread from person to person or animal to person.  Spread may happen through direct contact with an infected person or animal or their bodily fluids.  Spread may also occur by inhaling infected air or ingesting infected food or water.


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.

 In addition to these activities, 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 on specific pieces of our Communicable Disease Program including: