Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

Genesee County Health Department

December 5, 2018 - 4:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in flu, news, Genesee County Health Department.

Press release:

The Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County health departments are challenging county residents to choose "Healthy Behaviors" during National Influenza Vaccination Week from Dec. 2-8th. 'Tis the season of influenza (flu), where keeping hands clean and covering up coughs/sneezes are friendly ways of not spreading the flu to others.

We are encouraging everyone who can, big and small, to get the flu shot this year as a good way to be safe from the flu. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that a flu vaccination has many benefits, which can prevent you from getting sick with the flu.

CDC also states that during the 2017-2018 flu season the flu vaccine prevented: 49 million flu illnesses, 79,000 deaths, and 960,000 flu-related hospitalizations. For anyone over 6 months old, please get the flu shot as a healthy and safe gift to yourself and your family this holiday season.

Being vaccinated will help to protect babies (less than 6 months old) and individuals with medical conditions who cannot receive the flu vaccine.

It takes about two weeks after getting the flu vaccine for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so making plans now is a wise choice.

Per the CDC, children aged 6 months to 8 years old require two doses of flu vaccine (administered ≥ four weeks apart) if they have never been vaccinated against flu before, their vaccination history is unknown, or they haven’t received two doses before July 1, 2016.

“Influenza activity is increasing each week throughout New York State, laboratory cases so firths season have been confirmed in Genesee and Wyoming Counties,” said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services for Genesee and Orleans.

Tips to Stay Healthy During Flu Season:

  • Wash your hands throughout the day with soap and water, or sanitizer when you’re not by a sink;
  • Cover up coughs and sneezes with your arm or tissue. Be sure to wash your hands afterward;

  • Limit handshaking and hugs during the flu season;

  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched items, including but not limited to, phones, computers, other electronic items, countertops/surfaces, door knobs, and toys.

To learn more about the flu visit the New York State Department of Health website here.

For information about Health Department services contact the Genesee County Health Department at: 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website here.

October 30, 2018 - 5:51pm

From the Genesee County Health Department:

Lead in gasoline and paint has been banned in the United States since the 1970s, yet lead exposure and poisoning is still a problem in too many households.

Did you know that today, exposure and poisoning from this toxic metal still affects millions of people? While lead is harmful for everyone, it is even more dangerous to children and can cause lifelong and life-threatening health problems.

In an effort to combat this ongoing problem, the last week in October is recognized as National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. Paul Pettit, Public Health director of Genesee and Orleans counties, wants to remind our communitythat knowledge is power.

“Lead poisoning can be prevented," Pettit said. "The key is to keep children from coming in contact with lead. Take time this week to learn about ways to reduce your child’s exposure to lead in their environment and preventits serious health effects.”

Lead poisoning is caused by swallowing or breathing in lead dust. The most common sources of lead can be found in the soil, chipping paint, household dust, contaminated drinking water from old plumbing, lead-glazed pottery, some metal jewelry, and at some jobsites -- typically construction, manufacturing and mining.

“Although the use of lead was banned from products such as paint since 1978, many homes in our communities stillhave remnants of old lead paint in them,” said Sarah Balduf, Environmental Health director of Genesee and Orleans Counties. “Old, chipping paint, particularly around window sills, door frames, banisters, and porches, can causea serious problem, especially in young children who tend to spend most of their time crawling or playing on the floor.”

Local data shows the majority of the homes in our communities were built before 1978, indicating lead may still be present even under fresh layers of paint. According to the 2016 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates there are approximately 25,657 total housing structures in Genesee County; 76.3 percent were built in 1979 or earlier with 39.6 percent built in 1939 or earlier. In Orleans County there are approximately 18,509 total housing structures; 76.2 percent were built in 1979 or earlier with 45.1percent built in 1939 or earlier. In Wyoming County there are approximately 18,072 total housing structures; 76.0 percent were built in 1979 or earlier with 43.6 percent built in 1939 or earlier.

The chipping paint that Balduf described can produce a dust that is easily ingested by young children who often put their hands in their mouths. This is just one example of how lead can enter their bodies and harm their health by disrupting their growth and development, increasing behavioral problems, and lowering the child’s IQ. Many organs in the body are affected by lead, including the liver, kidneys, lungs, brain, spleen, muscles and heart.

There are typically no signs or symptoms to help you know if your child has lead poisoning. A person with lead poisoning usually does not look or feel sick. The best way to find out if your child has lead poisoning is by testing. The most common test is a quick blood test. It measures how much lead is in the bloodstream.

According to the New York State Department of Health, it is required that children are tested for lead at age 1 and again at age 2. Children will continue to be monitored for lead at well-child visits until they reach age 6. Pediatricians will explain what the child’s blood level means and if their levels are within a healthy range.

Pregnant women should also be tested as they can pass lead to their unborn baby. High levels of lead during pregnancy can cause miscarriage and stillbirth. Other pregnancy problems may include low birth weight, poor growth, and premature delivery.

Lead testing rates in Genesee County from 2016 reveal that 56.8 percent of children were being tested for lead at age one and 54.2 percent of children were being tested for lead at age 2. Lead testing rates in Orleans County from 2017 reveal that 57.9 percent of children were being tested for lead at age one and 51.9 percent of children were being tested for lead at age 2. Lead testing rates in Wyoming County from 2017 reveal that 63.12 percent of children were being tested for lead at age one and 62.79 percent of children were being tested for lead at age 2.

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week increases awareness for a year round problem. Educating yourself about the dangers of lead poisoning and ways to lessen lead exposure will benefit the health and well-being of your family. Take action today by reviewing these simple steps to reduce lead exposure in your home.

  • Keep a clean and dust free home.
  • Use a damp cloth and a damp mop to reduce the spread of dust.
  • Teach good handwashing habits.

  • Consume a diet with foods that are rich in nutrients such as calcium, iron, and vitamin C.

  • Good nutrition and regular meals can help prevent lead poisoning since there are many good nutrients being absorbed in the body. An empty stomach has the ability to absorb more lead and store it in the bones. Supporting strong bones and a healthy body will help minimize the amount of lead absorbed in the body.
  • Be mindful to not bring lead home on clothes from jobsites or working on hobbies.

  • Let cold water run for 1 minute before drinking it, especially if it has not been used for a few hours.

  • Fix and repair peeling paint safely. Contact your local health department for more information on how to do so.

  • Take time to talk with your doctor or health department staff to learn more about your risk of lead poisoning or visit the New York State Health Department website at: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/lead/

For information about Health Department services contact:

Genesee County Health Department at: 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website here.

October 4, 2018 - 12:36pm

The following is a Health Guidance*  statement issued by the GC Department of Health about West Nile virus in Genesee (and Orleans) County:

Mosquitoes are usually considered a nuisance pest, but occasionally they can transmit viruses to people and some animals. In New York State, mosquitoes have been found to transmit Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE, "triple E") and West Nile virus (WNV).

Such viruses can cause serious illness and even death. While your chances of being infected with a disease through a mosquito bite are very small, there are measures you can take to reduce your risk of being bitten. This year WNV has been detected in both Genesee and Orleans counties.

Specifically, per the NYS Department of Health Statewide Mosquito-Borne Disease Activity Report, last month -- in September -- an equine (horse or related animal), bird and human case tested positive in Genesee County and an equine case in Orleans County.

West Nile Virus Disease is spread by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. The infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals, such as horses.

Vaccine is available to reduce the risk of horses contracting the virus. Unfortunately there is no vaccine for humans, taking the proper preventative actions to avoid getting bit are our best options.

In New York State, cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which begins in the summer and continues throughout fall. Most mosquitoes are active between dusk and dawn when the air is calm.

Sarah Balduf, Environmental Health Director of Genesee and Orleans counties states that not all mosquitoes are able to transmit the virus.

“While there are about 70 different species of mosquitoes in the State, only certain species have been associated with WNV,” Balduf said.

WNV is spread ONLY through a mosquito bite.

It is NOT spread through coughing, sneezing, touching live animals, or handling live or dead infected birds. But it is strongly advised to avoid bare-handed contact when handling any dead animal. If you are disposing of a dead bird, use gloves or double plastic bags to place the carcass (body) in a garbage can.

Symptoms of WNV vary from person to person. Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services of Genesee and Orleans counties, explains that only a small percentage of people infected with the disease will show symptoms.

“Most people infected, 70-80 percent, with WNV do not develop any symptoms," Bedard said.

It is estimated that 20 percent of the people who become infected will develop less severe symptoms including headache and body aches, nausea, fever, and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands.

Symptoms of severe infections include (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis) can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, muscle weakness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, seizures, paralysis, coma, and in some cases death.”

Symptoms of WNV usually appear within three to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Health care providers diagnose WNV based on the patient's clinical symptoms and laboratory diagnosis by testing blood or spinal fluids, which will show if the virus or antibodies against the virus are present in the person.

Although there is no specific treatment for WNV, health care providers will usually attempt to relieve the symptoms of the illness. In severe cases, patients may need to be hospitalized and closely monitored.

When infected adult mosquitoes are spreading a virus to people, acting quickly can stop further spread and prevent more people from getting sick. By using multiple mosquito control methods at the same time, people and communities can help stop the spread of disease.

The New York State Department of Health recommends the following:

  • Cover your skin as completely as possible. Wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods or       when mosquitoes are more active.
  • Use mosquito repellent, which should always be applied according to label directions. Do not let children apply mosquito repellent on himself or herself, and do not apply to the hands of small children.
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus (the label may say citriodiol or p-menthane 3,8 -diol). Oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under 3 years of age. Products containing permethrin kill insects that come in contact with treated clothing, and are for use on clothing only, not skin.
  • Use as little repellent as you need, and avoid unnecessary repeat applications. Do not overspray. Apply repellent outdoors.
  • Do not apply near eyes, nose or mouth and use sparingly around ears. • After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.
  • Cover baby carriers with mosquito netting when outside.
  • Close doors and make sure open windows have screens on them.
  • Limit use of perfumes and scents that would attract mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in or near water, and their offspring "grow up" in water before emerging as adults that fly and bite. Therefore, mosquitoes can be controlled by controlling water.

Many types of mosquitoes, including those that can transmit disease, lay their eggs in even small amounts of standing water around the home such as flowerpots, birdbaths and discarded tires. To reduce the mosquito population in and around your home, reduce or eliminate all standing water by following these steps:

  • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers.

  • Remove all discarded tires on your property. Check with your local landfill or public works authorities to find out how to dispose of them properly.

  • Remove all fallen leaves.

  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.

  • Clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall. Make sure roof gutters drain properly.

  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use. Make sure outside toys and play areas are clear of standing water.

  • Change the water in birdbaths at least two times a week. Clean plants and debris from the edge of ponds.

  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Drain water from pool covers. Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.

For more information on the West Nile Virus, please click here.

For more information on Mosquitoes and Diseases, click here.

The Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) is now using five types of classifications to provide important information to medical and public health professionals, and to other interested persons:

  • Health Alerts convey information of the highest level of importance which warrants immediate action or attention from New York health providers, emergency responders, public health agencies, and/or the public.
  • Health Advisories provide important information for a specific incident or situation, including that impacting neighboring states; may not require immediate action.
  • * Health Guidances contain comprehensive information pertaining to a particular disease or condition, and include recommendations, guidelines, etc. endorsed by GCHD.
  • Health Updates provide new or updated information on an incident or situation; can also provide information to update a previously sent Health Alert, Health Advisory, or Health Guidance; unlikely to require immediate action.
  • Health Promotions provide information on a upcoming event, observance, or topic area.
September 25, 2018 - 12:04pm

Public Health Column from the Genesee County Health Department:

Do you have small children or grandchildren? Are you pregnant and getting your older home ready for your new baby? Do you live in a house or send your children to a day care center built before 1978? Do you know the last time your child was tested for lead poisoning?

If you don’t know the answer to the last question, talk with your primary care provider or contact your local Health Department and ask about testing.

Lead is a metal that can harm children and adults when it gets into their bodies. Lead can be found in dust, air, water, soil, and in some products used in and around the home. Most homes built before 1978 have old lead paint, often under newer paint.

If paint peels, cracks, or is worn down, the chips and dust from the old lead paint can spread onto floors, windowsills and all around your home. Lead dust can then get onto children's hands and toys, and into their mouths.

Generally there are no signs or symptoms to help you know if your child has lead poisoning. A person with lead poisoning usually does not look or feel sick. The best way to find out if your child has lead poisoning is by testing.

The most common test is a quick blood test. It measures how much lead is in the bloodstream. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, the ability to pay attention, delayed development, and academic achievement.

New York State requires doctors to test all children with a blood lead test at age 1 year and again at age 2 years. At every well-child visit up to age 6, health care providers must ask parents about any contact their child might have had with lead.

If there's been a chance of contact, providers are required to test for lead again. Parents can ask their child's doctor or nurse if their child should get a lead test, and what the lead test results mean.

“Children under the age of 6 years old are at risk because they are growing so rapidly and because they tend to put their hands and/or other objects, which may be contaminated with lead dust, into their mouths,” said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services of Genesee and Orleans Counties.

In addition to children, pregnant women should be tested for lead as well.

“Expectant mothers who live in an older home and are exposed to lead dust can inhale the particles and pass it on to their baby," Bedard said. "Your doctor should discuss proper prenatal care to reduce your exposure to lead during your pregnancy and how to prevent lead exposure to your baby once he/she is born.”

The good news is that you can protect your family from lead poisoning. Talk to your healthcare provider about potential lead sources in your house or anywhere your kids spend long periods of time, such as a daycare or a relative’s house.

Here are some ways to reduce or eliminate your exposure to lead/ lead dust:

Fix peeling lead paint and make home repairs safely.

  • Keep children away from peeling or chipped paint.

  • Before making repairs in a home built before 1978, call your local health department to learn how to work safely and keep dust levels down.

  • Children and pregnant women should stay away from repairs that disturb old paint, such as sanding and scraping. They should stay away until the    area is cleaned using wet cleaning methods and a HEPA vacuum (not dry sweeping).

Wash dust off hands, toys, bottles, windows and floors.

  • Wash your child's hands and face after play, before meals, and before bed.

  • Wash toys, stuffed animals, pacifiers and bottles with soap and water often.

  • Mop floors often, and use damp paper towels to clean window wells and sills.

Be careful not to bring lead home on clothes, toys, or jewelry.

Keep lead out of your food and tap water.

Serve foods that have calcium, iron, and vitamin C.

​Lead is in some children's jewelry, toys, keys, and old furniture. Sign up for children's product recall alerts at www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.

Some jobs and hobbies can involve contact with lead. These include: painting, plumbing, construction, car repair, or working with firearms, stained glass or pottery.

To lower lead dust, change work clothes before going home; take shoes off at your door; wash work or hobby clothes separately; wash face, hands and uncovered skin before going home.

  • Let tap water run for one minute before using it, if it hasn't been run for a few hours. Town and well water could have lead from old plumbing.

  • Only use cold tap water for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula. Boiling your water does not get rid of lead.

  • Use lead-free dishes. Don't serve or store food in pewter, crystal, or cracked pottery.

These foods help keep lead from being stored in your child's body:

  • Foods with calcium: milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, and green, leafy vegetables.

  • Foods with iron: beans, lean meat, fortified cereal and peanut butter.

  • Foods with vitamin C: oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, tomatoes, green peppers.

For information about Health Department services contact: Genesee County Health Department at 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website here.

June 13, 2018 - 2:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in rabies, Genesee County Health Department.

Press release from the GC Health Department:

Springtime is a perfect time to remind everyone about how dangerous rabies can be and what you can do to prevent exposure to you, your family and your pets.

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that can be fatal once symptoms (signs) show up. Rabies is a central nervous system disease, which attacks the brain and causes death. Rabies can be spread through bites, scratches, and saliva.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that each year, the majority of rabies cases occur in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. Though those are the most commonly reported animals with rabies, all mammals; including humans can be infected.

Therefore, it is recommended that pet owners and livestock owners get their animals vaccinated for rabies. In New York State, cats are the most often diagnosed domestic animals.

Sarah Balduf, Environmental Health director of Genesee and Orleans counties, reported that so far in 2018 there have been a total of 19 animals submitted for rabies testing between the two counties and three have tested positive for the fatal disease, complete details below.

In addition to these animals, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has submitted one deer from Genesee County, which tested negative.

Genesee County -- Animals Tested for Rabies as of June 12:

Total Tested / Total Positive

  • Bat: 2 tested / 1 tested position 
  • Cat: 3 tested / 1 tested positive
  • Dog: 3 tested / 0 tested positive
  • Horse: 1 tested / 0 tested positive
  • Raccoon: 1 tested / 1 tested positive

One of the first signs of rabies in animals includes a change in the animal’s behavior.

Balduf said “Animals may become unusually aggressive, or may develop an unwarranted sense of fear or it may lose its fear of another animal. In wild animals, symptoms are as follows; affectionate or friendly, or it may attack anything in its path, due to excitable or irritable behavior. Other symptoms include staggering, convulsions, choking, foaming at the mouth and paralysis.”

Though rabies may take up to three months to fully develop, there are some early signs to look out for in humans.

These signs include fever, headache, sore throat, and unexplained tiredness. If an animal bite or scratch is not reported right after it happens, the disease can develop. The signs after development include, pain and tingling at the bite site, hallucinations, hydrophobia (fear of water), strong tightening of the muscles in the throat and paralysis starting at the infection site.

To protect yourself from rabies, people are encouraged to avoid feeding touching or adopting wild animals and stray domestic animals such as dogs and cats.

People are also encouraged to keep their pets (dogs, cats and ferrets), and livestock animals up-to-date on their rabies vaccination. Keeping a close eye on children who are playing outdoors and telling them the dangers of playing with wild or stray animals (alive or dead) is also highly recommended.

It is very important to make sure you are not attracting wildlife to your home. You can do this by making sure that your garbage cans are not accessible by wild life and you don’t leave pet food out unattended.

Anyone who has been bitten by any animal or who otherwise may have been exposed to rabies, needs to "Capture and Call." If you can do so safely, being careful to not damage the head/brain, capture the animal and call your local health department or a doctor to report the incident. Capturing the animal is vital in order for it to be tested for rabies.

Testing will confirm if the animal is infected with the virus or not, ensuring that only those who need treatment get it. In addition, make sure you clean any wounds immediately with soap and water.

(*If a bat is found in a room where there are unattended children, someone sleeping or someone who cannot speak for him/herself or your family pet, do not let the bat out of the house. To learn how to capture a bat safely, view a short video at www.health.ny.gov/diseases/ communicable/zoonoses/rabies/.)

A doctor or health department will determine if they need to be vaccinated with rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (RPEP). A person who is exposed and has never been vaccinated against rabies should get four doses of rabies vaccine — one dose right away, and additional doses on the third, seventh and 14th days.

People who have weakened immune systems may require a fifth dose of vaccine, as determined by their doctor.

The dosage and cost for an individual to be treated with RPEP depends on the individual’s weight. The cost to treat an individual for rabies is estimated to be about $3,750. Local health departments will work with the patient’s insurance company but what cannot be covered by insurance is paid out by the county, and ultimately you, the taxpayer.

Another reason it is important to love your own animals and leave the rest alone. So far in 2018, 20 individuals have been treated for RPEP in Genesee County and four people have been treated for RPEP in Orleans County. These numbers could be lower if animals were safely captured and submitted for testing.

To protect your pets from rabies, please visit our upcoming anti-rabies clinic in Genesee County:

  • Genesee County: 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 16: Genesee County Fair Grounds, 5031 E. Main Street Road, Batavia.

For information about Health Department services contact the Genesee County Health Department at 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website at www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/health/index.html 

June 9, 2017 - 3:08pm

Public Health Column from the Genesee County Health Department:

Do you know that mammals, including humans, can contract rabies? Bats, raccoons, foxes and skunks are assumed to be infected with this deadly virus and must be avoided. In any case with animals, it is better to love your own and leave others alone!

What is rabies? How is it transmitted? What are Signs & Symptoms?

Rabies is a virus that attacks the nervous system of mammals, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. There are more than 4,000 different species of mammals, all of which are vertebrates (they have a backbone or spine), are endothermic (“warm-blooded”), have hair on their bodies, and produce milk to feed their babies.

Transmission of the rabies virus usually begins when the saliva of an infected host is passed to an uninfected mammal. The most common way rabies is transmitted is through the bite and virus-containing saliva of an infected host. Other routes include contamination of mucous membranes (i.e., eyes, nose, mouth), aerosol transmission, and organ transplantations.

The first symptoms of rabies may be very similar to those of the flu including general weakness or discomfort, fever or headache. These symptoms may last for days. There may also be discomfort or a prickling or itching sensation at the bite site, progressing within days to symptoms of cerebral (brain) dysfunction, anxiety, confusion, agitation.

As the disease progresses, the person may experience delirium, abnormal behavior, hallucinations and insomnia. Common signs of rabies in animals are; nocturnal (night) animals active during daylight, foaming of the mouth, overly aggressive, or uncoordinated. The acute period of disease typically ends after 2 to 10 days.  Once clinical signs of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal, and treatment is typically supportive.

What to do if potentially exposed to rabies?

“If you are bitten, or if infectious material (such as saliva) from a wild or stray animal gets into your eyes, nose, mouth, or a cut, wash the area with soap/water and call your doctor or local County Health Department immediately. Please note that bats have very tiny, razor-sharp teeth so you may not feel or see a bite mark,” said Sarah Balduf, director of Environmental Health for Genesee & Orleans Counties.

IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to safely capture the suspect animal if it has or may have been in contact with people, pets or livestock so it can be tested for rabies. Capturing the suspect animal for testing is important because unnecessary medical treatment to people and confinement of pets or livestock may be avoidable.

“To diagnosis the rabies virus in animals testing the tissue of the brain is needed. Keep this in mind when capturing the animal because damage to the head/brain can cause it to be untestable. If treatment is recommended, it consists of a series of four shots, over a period of 14 days. An additional fifth dose of rabies vaccine is given on day 28 to immunocompromised patients (less capable of battling infections),” Balduf said.

*A link to a video on how to safely capture a bat is located below.

How do you to prevent rabies?

Rabies is 100-percent preventable! Here are some ways to protect your families and animals.

·      Don't feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or cats, including the babies.

·      Be sure your pet dogs, cats and ferrets as well as horses and valuable livestock animals are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. Vaccination protects pets if they are exposed to rabid animals. Pets too young to be vaccinated (under 3 months old) should be kept indoors and allowed outside only under direct observation.  Keep family pets indoors at night. Do not leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.

·      Do not attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or other foods that 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. Bats can get in spaces as small as the width of a pencil.

·      If nuisance wild animals are living in parts of your home, consult with a nuisance wildlife control expert about having them removed. You can find wildlife control experts, who work on a fee-for-service basis, in your telephone directory under pest control.

·      Teach children not to touch any animal they do not know and to tell an adult immediately if they are bitten by any animal.

·      If a wild animal is on your property, let it wander away. Bring children and pets indoors and alert neighbors who are outside. You may contact a nuisance wildlife control expert who will remove the animal for a fee.

Upcoming Dog, Cat and Ferret Anti-Rabies Vaccination Clinics:

Clinics are free to county residents -- charges may apply for out of county residents.

Donations are appreciated -- for complete details visit the county health department’s website.

Genesee County Clinics are held on Thursdays from 4 - 7 p.m.:

  • Aug. 17th, Genesee County Fairgrounds, 5031 E. Main St., Batavia
  • Sept. 21st, Pembroke Highway Department, 1145 Main Road (Route 5), Pembroke
  • Oct. 19th, Le Roy Village Highway Garage, 58 N. Main St., Le Roy

For more information on rabies, how to catch a bat safely, and much more visit, https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/rabies/

For information about Health Department services contact,

April 26, 2017 - 5:18pm

From the Genesee County Health Department:

Parents and guardians make decisions daily that impact their children’s health and deciding whether or not to vaccinate your little one(s) is one of the most important decisions you will make. In the spirit of National Infant Immunization Week (April 22 – 29), let’s take time to learn how to keep your children best protected against vaccine preventable diseases.

Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases.

A child’s first vaccination is scheduled to be given before they even leave the hospital after being born.

“There are recommended immunization schedules for children, adolescents and adults. Schedules for children are designed to offer protection early in life, decreasing the chances a child could become ill and possibly experience complications from a preventable disease,” said Laura Paolucci, administrator, for Wyoming County Health Department.

Vaccinating children on time is the best way to protect them against 14 serious and potentially deadly diseases before their second birthday. Vaccines are only given to children after careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccine side effects are almost always mild such as redness or swelling at the site of the shot, but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and risk of injury and death from the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare.

Although the number of vaccines a child needs in the first two years may seem like a lot, doctors know a great deal about the human immune system, and they know that a healthy baby’s immune system can handle getting all vaccines when they are recommended.

“When parents choose not to vaccinate or to follow a delayed schedule, children are left unprotected against diseases that still circulate in this country, like measles and whooping cough," said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services, for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “There is no known benefit to delaying vaccination. In fact, it puts babies at risk of getting sick because they are left vulnerable to catch serious diseases during the time they are not protected by vaccines."

Parents who are concerned about the number of shots given at one time can reduce the number given at a visit by using the flexibility built into the recommended immunization schedule. For example, the third dose of Hepatitis B vaccine can be given at 6 - 18 months of age. Parents can work with their child’s health care professional to have their child get this dose at any time during that age range.

For more information on vaccine schedules, visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/index.html.

If you do not have a primary care provider your local Health Department may be able to assist in providing needed vaccines. This service is available for individuals who have no health insurance, public insurance, and some private insurance.

For information about Health Department services contact:

September 8, 2016 - 2:00pm

Genesee, Orleans & Wyoming Public Health Column

Press release:

September is National Preparedness Month! In our area we generally think of snow and ice-related emergencies, however it is also important to be ready for threats caused by flooding, high winds, earthquakes, fires, chemical spills and infectious diseases.

Thankfully, getting prepared for all types of emergencies is made easier with the assistance of Mobile Apps like Ready Genesee, Orleans Aware and FEMA. These apps are similar in nature in that all connect consumers to weather alerts, planning features and information on available shelters. Apps like these are user-friendly and give consumers the tools to take part in their own preparedness, which will positively impact the outcome of any emergency.

If you live, work, or visit Genesee or Orleans Counties download the Ready Genesee and Orleans Aware Apps, available on apple and android devices, as well as in English and Spanish, too.

“The Emergency Management Offices’ and Health Departments’ in both counties teamed up to have these apps made available in an effort to have a local focus," said Bill Schutt, deputy coordinator of Emergency Management Services. "County officials can use this app not only to get information to users before, during, and after emergencies in a more direct and modern way but also to share knowledge on a regular basis, too.

"Since Ready Genesee and Orleans Aware became available to download earlier this year, the counties have utilized the apps to notify users of road closers, a boil water notice, a gas leak, rabies clinics, as well as sharing of informational articles on the recent drought, Zika virus, Lyme Disease and lighting safety. If you don’t travel to either county, the FEMA app is a good, reputable option, too, but it is important to note that users will not receive notifications or general information from their county officials."

Features of Ready Genesee and Orleans Aware Mobile Apps

My Plan

By answering five simple questions, the app will create a customized emergency supply checklist and plan based on your family’s needs, including pets and relatives with special needs.

Get information from the National Weather Service and local county officials.  Local officials can instantly inform you of situations including, but not limited to, road closers, evacuation notices, boil water notices, gas leaks, an active shooter or missing persons.

My Status

With the push of a button let friends and loved ones know “I’m Safe” or “I Need Help.”

EvacMap& Shelters

Find evacuation routes and shelters with on and offline mapping.

Need to Know

E-books on various topics including Public Health Emergencies, Need to Know Preparedness for Pet Owners, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Floods  and Fire Safety.


Have contact information to services helpful in an emergency.

“The full potential of these new apps will be recognized more so as different emergencies arise and I predict at that utilization will increase too,” stated Al Cheverie, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for Genesee and Orleans. “After downloading your App, please take the time to collect the emergency supplies for your home and car.

"Being ill prepared for a situation where you are unable to leave your house or car can be dangerous if certain supplies such a necessary medications, blankets, food and water aren’t on hand."

To download the apps visit:

Ready Genesee or Orleans Aware: http://eocready.com/counties

FEMA: https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app

For information about Health Department services contact:

October 30, 2015 - 1:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in lead poisoning, Genesee County Health Department.

Press release:

The Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County Health departments are participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) Oct. 25 -31, joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in encouraging all to learn more about how to prevent lead poisoning.

This year's theme is "Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future,” which stresses the importance of testing your home, testing your child and learning how to prevent lead poisoning’s serious health effects. Lead particles can be ingested or inhaled posing serious threats to human health. If not detected early enough both children and adults are at risk.

“Lead does not affect everyone equally," said Laura Paolucci, Wyoming County Health Department administrator. “Individuals at highest risk for lead poisoning are those exposed to lead through occupational means or hobbies, fetuses and children up to 6 years old.”

Lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust are the most hazardous sources of lead for children. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978. All houses built before 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint. However, it is the deterioration of this paint that causes a problem. Get your home checked for lead hazards by finding a certified inspector or risk assessor at http://www2.epa.gov/lead.

Symptoms of lead poisoning vary depending on the blood lead level which is determined by a blood test.

“Young children, infants and fetuses absorb more lead than adults," said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “A small amount of lead that may have little effect on an adult can have a large effect on a child who is still growing and developing. If a child is overexposed to lead it can cause devastating consequences including the possibility of irreversible brain and nervous system damage.

"Even children who appear healthy can have lead poisoning. Pregnant women should also be especially cautious of lead exposure. The presence of lead dust can cause difficulties during pregnancy. Lead enters the bloodstream and can pass the placental barrier from the mother to the unborn child. If you, your child, or other family members are at risk please take the time to contact your physician.”

Low levels of exposure to lead can cause memory and concentration problems, muscle and joint pain, and can affect nervous system function. High levels of lead exposure have been associated with nerve disorders, digestive problems and in extreme cases, death. However, it is important to remember that many individuals show no outward signs of lead poisoning. An individual may have an elevated blood lead level even if they appear healthy and show no signs of lead poisoning.

Thankfully exposure to lead can be prevented. Follow these tips to be healthy from the start:

  • Make sure children do not have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint;
  • Children and pregnant women should not be present in housing built before 1978 that is undergoing renovation; They should not participate in activities that disturb old paint or in cleaning up paint debris after work is completed;
  • Create barriers between living/play areas and lead sources; Until environmental clean-up is completed, you should clean and isolate all sources of lead; Close and lock doors to keep children away from chipping or peeling paint on walls; You can also apply temporary barriers such as contact paper or duct tape, to cover holes in walls or to block children’s access to other sources of lead;
  • Regularly wash children’s hands and toys; Hands and toys can become contaminated from household dust or exterior soil; Both are known lead sources.
  • Regularly wet-mop floors and wet-wipe window components; Because household dust is a major source of lead, you should wet-mop floors and wet-wipe horizontal surfaces every two to three weeks; Windowsills and wells can contain high levels of leaded dust and should be kept clean; If possible, windows should be shut to prevent abrasion of painted surfaces or opened from the top;
  • Take off shoes when entering the house to prevent bringing lead-contaminated soil in from outside;
  • Prevent children from playing in bare soil; if possible, provide them with sandboxes; Plant grass on areas of bare soil or cover the soil with grass seed, mulch, or wood chips, if possible; Until the bare soil is covered, move play areas away from bare soil and away from the sides of the house; If you have a sandbox, cover the box when not in use to prevent cats from using it as a litter box; That will help protect children from exposure to animal waste.

Visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website to see product recalls related to lead and other hazards: http://www.cpsc.gov/

For information about how to prevent lead poisoning or health department services contact,

October 2, 2015 - 2:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee County Health Department, Announcements.

“Anthrax in Autumn,” the practice exercise held last week at Genesee Community College had a great turnout. The exercise held by the Genesee and Orleans (GO) County Heath Departments simulated how antibiotics would be distributed if an anthrax attack occurred in the counties.

“The exercise was a success with 749 mock doses of the antibiotics doxycycline and ciproflaxin dispensed in two hours,” said Al Cheverie, GO Public Health Emergency Preparedness coordinator.

In the event of a public health emergency where residents are in need of medication or vaccination the Local Health Departments would provide this at no cost.

“Exercises like this one help our Public Health Professionals to not only practice serving the public masses but also to partner with agencies to share resources and manpower in the interest of protecting the public’s health in a timely and efficient manner,” said Paul Pettit, GO Public Health director.

Cheverie added, “Thank you to all who helped prepare our community by receiving ‘medication’ and to the hardworking volunteers that assisted in many important ways. A special thanks especially to Genesee Community College, Lake Plains Community Care Network, University at Buffalo, New York State Department of Health, Alleghany Health Department and Wyoming County Health Department.”

If you would like to serve your community in the event of a public health emergency, please contact your local Health Department for more information. Genesee 585-344-2580, ext. 5555, and Orleans 585-589-3279.

September 18, 2015 - 1:50pm

Press release:

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments are inviting all to join in making this exercise a realistic one as the departments practice their ability to dispense the necessary medications if or when another anthrax attack might occur. The more volunteers, the better.

If such an event occurs where many people are exposed or at risk, local Public Health Departments are required to distribute no-cost medications within 48 hours and the location(s) offering medications are called PODs (Point of Distribution sites). This two-hour exercise is a shortened simulation of a 48-hour period of mass medication dispensing.

Anthrax in Autumn POD will take place at Genesee Community College, Batavia Campus Forum on Friday, Sept. 25, from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Participate at any time and enjoy lunch on us!

Pre-registration is encouraged but not required. To pre-register visit www.health.ny.gov/go2clinic. Volunteers are able and encouraged to participate more than once to receive additional tickets for a slice of pizza and a bottle of water. No actual medication will be given.

Due to the exercise, both the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments will be closed from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Please contact your local Health Department for more information, Genesee 585-344-2580, ext. 5555 / Orleans 585-589-3279.

April 1, 2014 - 12:33pm
Event Date and Time: 
April 3, 2014 - 4:00pm to 7:00pm

Genesee County Health Department is offering an anti-rabies immunization clinic on Thursday April 3, 2014 from 4pm until 7pm at the Pembroke Highway Department located on the NE corner of Route 77 and Route 5; at 1145 Main Road (Route 5), Pembroke, NY. Vaccination will be offered to dogs, cats and ferrets. There is no charge for the residents of Genesee County; out of county pet owners will be asked for a $5.00 donation. Please bring your pets with proper restraints; on leashes, in cages etc. Be prepared to supply pet owner information; name, address, telephone contact info, etc.

December 10, 2013 - 9:02am
posted by David Whitcroft in pets, free, rabies, Genesee County Health Department.
Event Date and Time: 
January 23, 2014 - 4:00pm to 7:00pm

Genesee County Health Department is offering an anti-rabies immunization clinic on Thursday January 23, 2014 from 4 pm until 7pm at the Salvation Army Gym located in the City of Batavia; at 529 East Main Street, Batavia, NY. Vaccination will be offered to dogs, cats and ferrets. There is no charge for the residents of Genesee County, out of county pet owners will be asked for a $5.00 donation. Please bring your pets with the proper restraints; on leashes, in cages etc. Be prepared to supply pet owner information; name, address, telephone contact info, etc.

May 28, 2013 - 9:23am
Event Date and Time: 
June 1, 2013 - 10:00am to 2:00pm

Genesee County Health Department is offering an anti-rabies immunization clinic on Saturday June 1, 2013 from 10am until 2pm at Centennial Park located in the City of Batavia; the SW corner of Ellicott and Park Avenue. Vaccination will be offered to dogs, cats and ferrets. There is no charge for the residents of Genesee County, out of county pet owners will be asked for a $5.00 donation. Please bring your pets with the proper restraints; on leashes, in cages etc. Be prepared to supply pet owner information; name, address, telephone contact info, etc.

March 15, 2013 - 1:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee County Health Department.

Press release:

Community Health Assessment Survey

New York State relies on local health departments to promote, protect, and improve the health of their residents. The Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County health departments and local hospitals are working with community partners to collect information to help with public health planning for the next several years. The information is put into documents called Community Health Assessment (CHA) and Community Services Plan (CSP).

To fully assess the health status of our communities we are asking for your input! We are using Survey Monkey for those who will take the survey on computers and will have paper copies of the surveys at local libraries, various events and throughout each of the counties for those who do not have access to computers.

Watch the Health Department Web sites for the link to the survey:

You can also access the link at this address:


The survey is anonymous and only takes about 15 minutes to complete. Your honest thoughts and opinions will help guide efforts in resolving local health issues over the next several years.

The survey can be taken by individuals living and/or working in Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming counties. All ages are encouraged to take it for themselves. If you are under the age of 18 years old, be sure to receive permission to take the survey from your parent(s) or guardian(s).

Health departments and hospitals all across New York State are working hard to learn about your views because your health counts. Your responses will help us identify services that are working, need improving, or to be created. The more members of the public who take this survey, the larger and stronger the “building block” of these projects will be.

If you have any questions, or would like to comment on the survey, call your Health Department at 344-2580, ext. 5000, for Genesee County, 589-3278 for Orleans County, and 786-8890 for Wyoming County.

September 23, 2011 - 5:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Health Department.

Very few of us ever work for the same employer for 33 years, the span of a single career, but Randy Garney walked out of Genesee County Building #2 today being able to say he did it.

Garney started with the county Health Department right out of college in 1978 as a public health technician trainee. Over the next several years, he worked his way up the ranks and eventually became public health director for the county.

Never once did he leave and work for another agency.

"Work is such a large segment of your life that I feel very blessed that this segment of my life was so enjoyable," Garney said. "Have there been hard times? Absolutely. But working with the people I've worked with, and with the directors I've worked with over the years, there was never a day when I didn't look forward to coming to work. I know there are people who don't enjoy their jobs, so I feel very fortunate."

Garney, now 55, who grew up in Oakfield and attended Notre Dame High School, and his wife Deborah, sold their home and are moving to Florida to be closer to their children, Heather, 35, and Steven, 32, and their four grandchildren.

Now is the time to retire, Garney said, while he still has his health and he can use his energy for his family and for ministry.

Once in Florida, Garney said, he hopes to find a church-affiliated group that cares for the homeless and devote much of his time to helping those in need.

"We really have a burden for the poor and the indigent," said Garney, who along with Deborah have worked with Care-A-Van Ministries.

He won't miss the current budget process, acknowledging that it's become very difficult and will be a real challenge for public health in future years, but he will look back on his career with Genesee County as a good one.

"I really enjoyed public health and helping people," Garney said. "It stuck with me and I really enjoyed it. I never thought I would get the chance to be public health director, but it’s really been the highlight of my career to administer public health throughout the county. It’s been a lot of fun."

February 9, 2010 - 3:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, h1n1, flu, Genesee County Health Department.

Here's important information for parents and guardians from the Genesee County Health Department:

In response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the local health department has coordinated H1N1 vaccine distribution to numerous physician offices throughout the county. In addition, we have conducted several Points of Dispensing (POD’s) in order to assist the medical professionals in protecting our community against this virus. A large number of these clinics were established directly at schools within Genesee County prior to the holiday recess in December.

On Jan. 23, a clinic was held at the Batavia City Centre to target the child population requiring a second dose. Children less than 10 years of age need to receive two .25 ml doses of the vaccine at least 28 days apart, to provide the proper immune protection against the H1N1 Virus.

If your child has not received their second dose, we ask you contact the Genesee County Health Department or your primary care physician to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. The vaccine is FREE. Some physicians may require an administrative fee.

For more information on the H1N1 virus and for a schedule of H1N1 clinics in Genesee County, please visit: HYPERLINK "http://www.readyGenesee.com" www.ReadyGenesee.com or call the Genesee County Health Department for an appointment at: 585-344-2580 ext. 5000.

Subscribe to




Copyright © 2008-2018 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

blue button