Public health professionals work to assure that diseases carried by animals do not infect people. Activities include:

  • Disease investigation
  • Inspection of facilities that house animals
  • Issuing of permits and response to complaints from residents regarding animal facilities to ensure compliance with the County Sanitary Code as well as that of the state.

Animal Facilities and Groomer application forms - please contact (914) 864-7359

Animal Diseases

Animal Rehabilitators

Animal Bite/Contact Forms (Rabies)



 Anthrax Fact Sheet  


Inhalation anthrax is NOT spread from person to person, and there is NO risk to anyone who has had contact with the drummer/drum maker or who attended performances or purchased drums from him. 


What is anthrax?

Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, which is capable of forming spores. A spore is a cell that is dormant (asleep) but may come to life in the right conditions. Spores can survive in the environment and remain infectious for a long time, even years. 


There are three types of anthrax:           

Skin (cutaneous) 

Lungs (inhalational)         

Stomach and intestines (gastrointestinal) 


How is anthrax spread?

Anthrax is usually spread in the form of a spore. (A spore is a dormant form that certain bacteria take when they have no food supply. Spores can grow and cause disease when better conditions are present, as in the human body.) Anthrax is generally spread in one of three ways. Most persons who are exposed to anthrax become ill within one week:

  • Skin (cutaneous) - Most anthrax infections occur when people touch contaminated animal products like wool, bone, hair and hide. The infection occurs when the bacteria enters a cut or break in the skin.
  • Inhalation (lung) - Some anthrax infections occur when people breathe in the spores of the bacteria. However, the infectious dose for inhalational anthrax is quite high, and requires exposure to a large number of spores (8,000 – 10,000).
  • Gastrointestinal - Some people may get anthrax by eating infected meat that has not been properly cooked. 


How soon after exposure do symptoms develop

Symptoms usually develop between one and seven days after exposure but prolonged periods up to 12 days for cutaneous (skin) anthrax and 60 days for inhalation anthrax are possible, though rare.   


What are the symptoms of anthrax?

  • Skin (cutaneous) - This is the most common form of anthrax. Infection requires a break in the skin. The first symptoms include itching where the skin has been exposed. Then, a large boil or sore appears. The sore becomes covered by a black scab. If not treated, the infection can spread to the lymph nodes and bloodstream.
  • Inhalation (lung) - Inhalation anthrax has been very rare in the US. First symptoms include fever, fatigue, malaise, and a cough or chest pain. High fever, rapid pulse, and severe difficulty breathing follow in two to five days. Inhalation anthrax is often fatal.
  • Gastrointestinal - This form occurs only after eating infected, undercooked meat. First symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, loose watery bowel movements, and vomiting with blood.


How did this person become infected with anthrax?

The infected person was working with unprocessed animal hides to remove hairs by hand scraping at a workplace in Brooklyn. This process generates dust and debris in the work area. Anthrax spores can be found in animal hides but it is extremely rare that it causes inhalational anthrax. 


I’m concerned about getting anthrax. What should I do?

Inhalation (lung) anthrax is not spread from person to person. Even if someone develops symptoms of inhalation anthrax, they are not contagious to other persons. Therefore, anthrax cannot be spread by people sharing office space, living in the same building, or by coughing or sneezing. You cannot be infected with anthrax by having contact with the person diagnosed with anthrax. If you have been in contact with unprocessed animal hides, you can contact your health care provider who may consult the Department of Health if there are any concerns. 


As a contact of the anthrax case, do either I or my child need antibiotics to prevent anthrax infection?

No. Anthrax is not spread from person to person such as attending the Kotchenga Dance Troop performance. People should only take antibiotics to prevent or treat anthrax if they have been exposed to the bacteria. The course of antibiotic treatment to prevent anthrax is long (60 days) and people may experience side effects. Although most side effects are mild, severe side effects may occur (such as diarrhea, abdominal symptoms, rash, and allergic reactions) and the use of antibiotics may interfere with other medications you may currently be taking. In addition, the inappropriate use of antibiotics may cause the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. 

Acknowledgements:  We wish to acknowledge and thank the New York City and New York State Departments of Health, for providing most of the above information. 2/27/06

Everyone living in Westchester needs to be able to identify a deer tick, even if you do not spend a lot of time outdoors. Know the difference between the deer tick which carries Lyme disease, and a dog tick, which does not carry the disease.

Deer tick stages
The stages of Ixodes scapularis, the black-legged or deer tick: larva, nymph, adult.





Female black legged deer tick
A female black-legged deer tick, Ixodes scapularis.





Male deer tick
A male deer tick





Dog tick vs. deer tick

Top Row: Dermacentor variabilis, the American dog tick, which is not thought to transmit Lyme disease.  Left to right: adult male, adult male dorsal side, nymph, larva. Adults are most common in May, June, and July.  Note that the adult dog ticks are somewhat larger than adult deer ticks, and have characteristic white markings on the dorsal (top) side.

Bottom Row: Ixodes scapularis (dammini), the deer tick which transmits Lyme disease. Left to right: adult female, nymph, younger nymph, larva.  Nymphs are most common May through July. Adults appear in the fall and early spring.

Unengorged and engorged deer ticks
An adult deer tick (left) and an engorged deer tick filled with blood (right).




 American dog tick

An American dog tick 

Close up image of a bed bug

No one wants bed bugs in their home. They are difficult to get rid of and cause annoying, itchy welts. However, bed bugs do not transmit diseases, so they are not considered a public health threat. That's why renters who believe they may have bedbugs should contact their local building department, and not the health department.

Renters who have been unsuccessful in resolving a bed bug infestation with their landlord and/or their local building department can reach out to CLUSTER at 963-6440 to arrange for mediation services. Residents can also contact Legal Services of the Hudson Valley at 949-1305 to see if they qualify for free legal counseling or representation.

Bedbugs can hide in upholstery, and they can enter your home on your suitcases or clothing. Beware of upholstered furniture or beds left curbside for the same reason. Some entomologists even recommend that when you buy new clothes, underwear, socks, sheets or towels, you run them through a hot clothes dryer for 20 minutes, to kill any bed bug eggs that could be hiding there. They can be also be found on wooden slats, springs as well as the bed frame. They can also live in wallpaper crevices, electrical wall plates, light fixtures, wall hangings, cabinetry as well as carpet fibers and wooden floorboards. For their size, common household bed bugs are extremely fast.

Image of bedbugs and excrement in mattress seamTelltale signs of bedbug infestations are dark spotting and staining, which is the dried excrement of the bugs. Also present will be eggs and eggshells, molted skin of maturing nymphs, and the bugs themselves. Another likely sign of bed bugs is rusty or reddish spots of blood on bed sheets or mattresses. 

Bed bugs prefer to hide close to where they feed. However if necessary, they will crawl more than 100 feet to obtain a blood meal. Initial infestations tend to be around beds, but the bugs eventually may become scattered throughout a room, occupying any crevice or protected location. They also can spread to adjacent rooms or apartments.

Bites and Concerns
Bed bugs usually bite people at night while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin with an elongated break through which they Image of bed bugs feeding on skinwithdraw blood. Engorgement takes about three to 10 minutes, yet the person seldom knows they are being bitten. Some people develop an itchy welt or localized swelling, while others have little or no reaction. Unlike flea bites that occur mainly around the ankles, bed bugs feed on any bare skin exposed while sleeping (face, neck, shoulder, arms, hands, etc.) The welts and itching are often attributed to other causes such as mosquitoes. For these reasons, bed bug infestations can grow and go undetected for a long time before being noticed.

Image of bed bug bites on the neck and shoulder

How Infestations Originate
The bugs are efficient hitchhikers and are usually transported in on luggage, clothing, mattresses and furniture. This is a problem for hotels, motels, and apartments, where turnover of occupants is constant. Bed bugs are small, escaping detection after crawling into suitcases, boxes, and belongings. The eggs are almost impossible to see when laid on most surfaces. Purchase or rental of secondhand mattresses, box springs, and furniture is another way that the bugs are transported into non-infested dwellings.

Once bed bugs are introduced, they often spread room to room throughout a building. The level of cleanliness has little to do with most bed bug infestations. Pristine homes, hotels, and apartments have plenty of hiding places and an abundance of warm-blooded hosts.

Controlling Infestations
Image of man inspecting for bed bugs in floorboard crevicesBed bugs are challenging pests to control. They hide in many tiny places, so inspections and treatments must be thorough. In most cases, it will be prudent to enlist the services of a professional pest control firm. Experienced companies know where to look for bed bugs, and have an assortment of management tools at their disposal. Owners and occupants must remove excess clutter, and in some cases infested mattresses and box springs. Since bed bugs can move from room to room, it may be necessary to inspect adjoining rooms and apartments.

Where They Hide
Bed bugs can live in almost any crevice or protected location. The most common place to find them is the bed. Bed bugs often hide within seams, tufts, and crevices of the mattress, box spring, bed frame and headboard.

A thorough inspection requires dismantling the bed and standing the components on edge. Things to look for are the bugs themselves, and the light-brown, molted skins of the nymphs. Dark spots of dried bed bug excrement are often present along mattress seams or wherever the bugs have resided. Oftentimes the gauze fabric underlying the box spring must be removed to gain access for inspection and possible treatment. Bed bugs also hide among items stored under beds.

Image of bed bugs hiding on screw underneath a nightstandMany areas besides beds, however, can harbor bed bugs. Nightstands and dressers should be emptied and examined inside and out, then tipped over to inspect the woodwork underneath. Oftentimes the bugs will be hiding in cracks, corners, and recesses. Upholstered chairs and sofas should be checked, especially seams, tufts, skirts, and crevices beneath cushions. Sofas can be major bed bug hot spots when used for sleeping.

Treatment Procedures
It often takes hours to properly inspect and treat a bed bug infestation. Follow-up visits are usually required and owners/o
ccupants have important pre-treatment responsibilities.

  • Reduce clutter. Belongings strewn about rooms afford many places for bed bugs to hide, and impedes inspection and treatment.
  • Infested bedding and garments must be bagged and laundered (120 degrees F minimum) or discarded since these items cannot be treated with insecticides. Professionals sometimes use high heat blowers to kill off bed bugs and their eggs.
  • Smaller items that cannot be laundered can sometimes be de-infested by heating. Individual items, for example, can be wrapped in plastic and placed in a hot, sunny location for at least a few days (the 120 degree F minimum target temperature should be monitored in the center-most location with a thermometer).
  • Bed bugs also succumb to cold temperatures below 32 degrees F, but the chilling period must be maintained for at least two weeks.
  • Remove bugs and eggs from mattresses, carpet, walls and other surfaces by vacuuming. Pay particular attention to seams, tufts and edges of mattresses and box springs, and the perimeter edge of wall-to-wall carpets. Then, dispose of the vacuum bag and its contents in a sealed trash bag.
  • Steam clean your carpets to kill bugs and eggs that vacuuming may have missed.


Other Resources

Cancer, Prevention, Screening and Treatment

Early Detection and Treatment of Cancer Saves Lives
Free cancer services are available for those with little or no health insurance who live in Westchester. Services include:
-Breast exams
-Pap tests
-Pelvic exams
-Colorectal health screening
-Prostate screening
-HPV vaccine for adults

For free or low-cost cancer screening, call the New York State Cancer Services Program toll free at 1-866-442-2262, which can connect you to a provider near you. Also available is the Cancer Services Resource Guide which is to be used to promote awareness about the importance of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening and improve the quality of cancer screening-related care to New Yorkers. Some of the providers are listed below.  

Cancer Services Program of the Hudson Valley
Free breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening services for uninsured/underinsured Westchester County residents (women age 40 and older; men age 50 and older) For information on eligibility and enrollment contact:

Cancer Services Program of the Hudson Valley
Phone:  914-488-6400

The following health centers participate in the Cancer Services Program (CSP) and can also enroll eligible persons in the CSP:

Sun River Health
1037 Main Street, Peekskill, NY 10566
For an appointment call: (914) 734-8800

Yonkers - Park Care
2 Park Ave, Yonkers, NY 10703
For an appointment call: (914)964-7862

Yonkers - Valentine Lane
503 South Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10705
For an appointment call: (914)965-9771

Open Door Family Medical Centers
Mamaroneck Open Door
689 Mamaroneck Avenue 
Mamaroneck, NY. 10543
Phone: (914) 732-0233

Mt. Kisco Open Door
30 West Main Street
Mt. Kisco, New York 10549
Phone: (914) 666-3272

Ossining Open Door
165 Main Street
Ossining, NY  10562
Phone: (914) 941-1263

Port Chester Open Door
5 Grace Church Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
Phone: (914) 937-8899

Sleepy Hollow Open Door
300 North Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
Phone: (914) 631-4141

Breast Cancer Screening, Prevention and Treatment Resources

Cervical Cancer Screening, Prevention and Treatment Resources

Colorectal Cancer Screening, Prevention and Treatment Resources

Prostate Cancer Screening, Prevention and Treatment Resources

Cancer Support Groups