Public Health Hazards, Nuisances & Complaints
Investigation of General Public Health Complaints and Concerns
The Environmental Health Division regularly investigates County resident reports or complaints of public health hazards and nuisances throughout Cattaraugus County. If you wish to file a complaint, please complete the “Environmental Health Complaint/Referral Form” (see link below), which may be faxed or mailed to the appropriate Environmental Health Office.
All complaints are evaluated based on their potential impact to public health and compliance with State and County public health laws and regulations. If complaints are not directly health related, they will be referred to the appropriate local, county, state, or federal agency having jurisdiction.
Ticks and Lyme Disease
The NYS Department of Health recently began limited surveys of deer ticks in western New York counties. Captured ticks are tested for the presence of pathogens. Lyme Disease is the most common and most publicized of diseases carried by ticks in NYS. Other diseases of concern to humans include babesiosis, ehlrichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, however only certain ticks will transmit certain diseases. Therefore identification of ticks is important in determining what, if any, medical treatment is necessary if you are bitten.
The Environmental Health Division accepts ticks for identification purposes only and provides educational information to you on the possible diseases that may be transmitted. Please note that we are unable to test whether each individual deer tick was actually infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease.
In 2009, 2010, and 2011 several ticks collected from Cattaraugus and other WNY counties tested positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease has been endemic in the eastern part of New York State for many years. However, the presence of this pathogen in Cattaraugus County is relatively new and rates of infection are on the rise. Lyme Disease should be of concern for residents and they should take precautions to avoid bites. See the "Ticks & Lyme Disease" link below for more information.
Lead Hazard Control
Lead (Pb) is a highly toxic metal that poses a serious health risk to humans when ingested, especially to children less than six years of age. In the past, its use as an additive in many products was very common (i.e. leaded paint & gasoline). Although its use is now restricted, many older homes may still contain lead paint hazards. This is why laws require doctors to test young children for lead exposure. Only a trained Lead Risk Assessor can identify and test homes for the presence of lead.
The Environmental Health Division conducts environmental lead investigations in response to the referral of a child with an elevated blood lead level, from a physician. Please note that such physician referral is required to trigger an investigation, these are not performed on request. Homeowners can hire trained consultants to assess their home if desired.