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Gov. Cuomo Announces Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Control Plan (5-15-2018)

Health Department Seeks Information About a Dog to Rule Out Rabies Infection

Graphic -- Help Fight RabiesA dog bit a person in front of the Schwartz Center on College Avenue in Ithaca, on Friday, May 18, 2018, at approximately 7:00 p.m. The biting dog is described as a small black and white dog similar in build to a Jack Russell terrier. According to information reported to the Health Department, the dog’s owner was a man with long grayish-white hair in a ponytail who was wearing clear, rimless, geometric-shaped glasses, and the dog’s name is “Paco”. The dog was standing on a bench near the owner at the time of the bite. The person bitten had fed the dog treats provided by the owner prior to the bite occurring. Anyone with information regarding this dog is urged to call the Tompkins County Environmental Health Division at (607) 274-6688. Full press release.

Tick-Borne Infections — Take Steps to Prevent Them

Spring is here and so are the ticks! It’s time to get outside and enjoy the season. It’s also time to take steps to prevent tick-borne infection.

While Lyme disease is the most commonly reported, new tick-borne infections have been discovered in recent years and are steadily increasing. Most can be successfully treated with antibiotics, especially if medication is started early.

Preventing tick bites is your best defense against tick-borne infection. Ticks may be different sizes depending on their stage of life. Nymphs, which are very active in spring, are about the size of a poppy seed, making them hard to spot. Ticks live in shaded, moist areas at ground level. They cling to tall grass, brush, and shrubs, at the edge of woods, along trails, in leaf piles and around old stone walls, waiting for a passerby to come along so they can climb aboard.

Click here for the full press release, including important prevention tips.

Well Water Assistance Available to Tompkins Residents

Tompkins County residents in need of a new well or rehabilitation of an existing well are encouraged to apply for low-interest loans through the Water Well Trust, a non-profit organization based in North Carolina that is dedicated to ensuring that people have access to safe drinking water.

Applications from Tompkins County are being accepted until September 30, 2018. Priority is given to owner-occupied households where health risks are imminent, to those with minorities, elderly, children, or to disabled persons, including disabled veterans. More information and the application can be found at (Full press release.)

Health Department Awarded Grant from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

A Member and Community Health Improvement grant from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield to improve childhood lead testing rates for the years 2018-2020 was recently awarded to the TCHD. “The grant funds will be used to purchase lead testing equipment for six local provider offices, so that lead testing is available at the same time as the child’s appointment,” states Frank Kruppa, Public Health Director. Click here for the full press release.

Opioid Resource

Opioid Resource graphic logoA NEW Opioid Resource page has been posted to the TCHD website. The intent is for this page to be a portal for information and services related to the opioid crisis within Tompkins County. The page is evolving, and comments related to its content are welcomed. Sections include:

  • County Statistics
  • FAQ
  • Emerging Issues
  • Resources
  • Videos

To visit the page, click here.

Tompkins County Health Department Reports an Increase in Pertussis

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial disease spread person to person through coughs or sneezes. Pertussis can affect anyone at any age, but it is particularly harmful to infants who are too young to be vaccinated.Chart of pertussis cases 2002 to 2017

Pertussis is cyclical in nature. Year to date there have been 21 confirmed cases, 9 cases were reported during November. In 2016, there were 4 cases; 2015 had 4 cases; 2014 had 14 cases. In 2012, there was a spike of cases with a total of 105.

Infants are particularly at risk from older siblings, parents, or caregivers who may be carrying the bacteria. If people are exposed and develop symptoms they should stay home from work, school and social gatherings to avoid exposing friends and extended family, until they are medically evaluated and treated.”

If you or your child has a persistent cough, call your doctor to determine if an evaluation is necessary. Click here for more about symptoms, complications, and precautions in the full press release.

Kidde Fire Extinguisher Recall

Approximately 40 million Kidde fire extinguishers have been recalled nationwide, affecting products manufactured from 1973 until 2017. Participants of the Healthy Neighborhoods Program in Tompkins County may have received one of these recalled fire extinguishers during a home visit. It is important to check your fire extinguisher and to call Kidde if you believe you have a recalled model. The Healthy Neighborhoods Program distributes about 300 fire extinguishers per year.

To determine if your fire extinguisher has been recalled, call Kidde directly at their toll-free number 855-271-0773 or online at and click “Product Safety Recall.” Full TCHD press release.

Health Department Pilots a TCAT Bus Stop

The Health Department now has a bus stop outside its front doors. In partnership with TCAT, the Health Department is pleased to offer the public easier access to the services provided at TCHD. TCHD encourages the public to take the bus when coming to the Health Department. The bus stop is on TCAT Route 32. Click here to see the full schedule on the TCAT website. For full press release click here.

Tompkins County Legislature votes to raise the minimum legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21, effective July 1, 2017.

By a 9–5 vote, the Tompkins County Legislature on May 2 passed a local law that raises the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 21. All products that are currently age restricted under the NYS Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act (ATUPA) are also in the new local law. This includes all tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and vaping products, and smoking paraphernalia.

The law goes into effect on July 1, 2017. Staff from the Tompkins County Health Department’s Health Promotion Program will provide educational outreach to retailers and the general public leading up to and after the effective date. Full press release. Text of the law (PFD). Click here for more info about T21.

Free Lead Testing Pilot Program:
$1.5 Million State Program to Test Residential Drinking Water

The NYSDOH is launching a pilot program to test for lead in drinking water. The free program is available to residents that are served by either a private well or public water system, allowing everyone to have access to lead testing. The program will continue as long as funds are available.

Residents who are interested having their tap water tested are encouraged to sign up on the NYSDOH website, or by calling the Bureau of Water Supply Protection at 518-402-7650. For more information about this program, read the full press release here. For more information about lead poisoning prevention, click here.

Rise in Sexually Transmitted Infections Seen in 2016

The Tompkins County Health Department reports an increase of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) locally. In 2016, 374 cases of Chlamydia were reported, a 9% increase from 2015; 81 Gonorrhea cases, a 47% increase from 2015; and 12 Syphilis cases, an alarming 200% increase from 2015.

Syphilis cases in Tompkins County have disproportionately affected males, and have ranged from 19 to 55 years of age. Many Syphilis cases have reported anonymous sexual encounters arranged through internet and mobile hook-up and dating apps, making it difficult or impossible to notify, educate and treat exposed partners.

Confidential, free or low-cost STI education, testing and treatment can easily be accessed at various locations throughout the county. For a complete list and contact information, please visit our website at, or call (607) 276-6604 for more information. Click for the full press release.


Three words that everyone who is sexually active should know, to protect your health and prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)!

    1. Talk to your partner before you have sex.
    2. Get Tested!
    3. If you test positive for an STI, Get Treated

Want to learn more about STIs and the Talk-Test-Treat campaign? Click right here, right now!

Daily Pill Can Prevent HIV

Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medicine taken daily that can be used to prevent getting HIV. PrEP is for people without HIV who are at very high risk for getting it from sex or injection drug use. Click here for more information.

Vaccines Save Lives

Flu vaccinations: Everyone, Every Year!

The Health Department recommends a flu shot for everyone, every year. Visit our Seasonal Flu page for more info.

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NOTICEThe Tompkins County Health Department makes every effort to post accurate and reliable information. However, it does not guarantee or warrant that the information on this website is complete, accurate, or up-to-date. Tompkins County shall not be liable under any circumstances for any claims or damages arising directly or indirectly from information presented therein. Please contact the program area by phone or the receptionist at 274-6600 for more information.


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