Health Complaints

Have a complaint about a food establishment, pool or hotel? Too many mosquitoes while you are walking your dog? Need a tick identified? The Health Department investigates many of these issues at businesses it permits in Alexandria. Read to learn more.

Page updated on Feb 4, 2021 at 4:23 PM
See attached COVID-19 update regarding statewide limitations in effect restaurants and some other food operations.

Make a Health Complaint

To report improper or unsanitary health practices of food, pool or hotel businesses in the city, call 703.746.4910 and give the: 

  • Name and address of the business; if it is a food truck, describe it
  • Date and time of visit
  • What you saw


Standing water can produce mosquitoes. General prevention tips are at If you believe the problem is coming from your neighbor's property, talk with them and share this information.

If there is an area that has a large number of mosquitoes or an area with a lot of standing water for more than five days and it is not on your property, call 703.746.4910 and give the: 

  • Address of the affected area and description of the problem
  • Date and time of your observation
  • Any information you believe is relevant

If you have a concern related to pesticide use, contact the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Office of Pesticide Services at 804.371.6560. This office staffs pesticide investigators to inspect and investigate possible pesticide misuse. 

Smoking in a Restaurant

There are two regulations that address smoking in restaurants in the City of Alexandria:

  • Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act
  • Code of the City of Alexandria

These two regulations do not ban smoking in restaurants under all circumstances. If you see patrons smoking in a restaurant, ask to see the Health Department's notice regarding the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act (if it is not visible). If there is no notice, you can then make a complaint with the Health Department. 

For more information about smoking in restaurants, visit

Something Made Me Sick

If you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. For poison help, call 800.222.1222.

Food can make you sick if not cooked or stored properly. Pools and spas can also make you sick if not disinfected properly. If you think that you became sick after visiting a permitted facility in Alexandria, call us at 703.746.4910. We will do a short interview to collect the:

  • Name and address of the business
  • Date and time of visit
  • What food you ate (includes drinks, appetizers, main course, side dishes, and desserts) or where you swam
  • What do you think made you sick and why
  • How many people ate/swam with you, and how many got sick
  • What symptoms you had and when they appeared. Include whether or not you vomited, had diarrhea or a fever.
  • If you saw a doctor/nurse
  • Everything you ate, where you swam, and if you had any overnight travel in the three days prior to getting sick   

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are nuisance insects that are not known to spread disease. We will conduct bed bug investigations at permitted hotel facilities. Certain facilities with vulnerable or captive populations (like schools, nursing care facilities, jails, etc.) should contact us for guidance. Call 703.746.4910 and provide:

  • Name and address of the facility
  • Room numbers affected
  • Date and time of visit
  • ">What you saw

We do not investigate bed bug complaints at private residences or businesses. You can visit for more information. 


We investigate complaints of rats or mice at places we permit, like restaurants, groceries, pools, hotel/motels, etc. If you have a complaint about rodents at other locations, contact the City's Rodent Control Program at for help. 

Medical Facilities 

The Virginia Department of Health's Office of Licensure And Certification (OLC) investigates most complaints at:

  • nursing facilities
  • inpatient and outpatient hospitals
  • abortion facilities
  • home care organizations
  • hospice programs
  • dialysis facilities
  • clinical laboratories
  • managed care organizations

Visit at for more information.

Nursing Homes

The Health Department permits the food service, spas, and overnight guest lodging at nursing homes. If you have a complaint about ones of those areas,  contact us. For complaints about the staff, cleanliness or care of residents, visit the Virginia Department of Health's Office of Licensure And Certification (OLC) complaint unit website at for more information.

Other Locations

Local health and sanitation codes vary from county to county. If you want to make a complaint about a business located outside the city limits, you must contact that location's health department directly. Use the U.S. Postal Service's webpage ( to find out what office to call. For example, some businesses on Telegraph Road, Edsall Road and Richmond Highway may be in Fairfax County but have an Alexandria mailing address. Below is Fairfax and Arlington County's contact information.