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March 6, 2018 - 9:24am

Active flu season one of many issues keeping health department busy

posted by Howard B. Owens in health department, news, notify.

There have been 520 confirmed flu cases in Genesee County, up from an average of 150 to 200 per season, Health Director Paul Petitt told the Human Services Committee at a meeting on Monday.

The good news is, the number of cases is starting to slow but there is also typically a second peak during flu season.

Even though this year's flu shot has proven to be only about 40 percent effective, it's still the best measure to prevent the flu or to lessen its severity, Petitt said.

Flu is just one of many issues on the Health Department's plate, Petitt said.

There was also a rabies case in January involving 12 people who needed post-exposure treatment after a family took in a stray kitten.  The family members, as well as some friends, required treatment.

Petitt said people need to remember to be wary of unknown animals, whether domestic or wild.

The opiate crisis continues to hit Genesee County hard.  The number of deaths in the county for 2017 is not yet available but officials are aware of the continued high call volume for emergency responders and the reports of deaths locally.

The tri-county task force continues to work on the issue and will be supplement by an intra-agency effort funded by a $578,000 grant from the Greater Rochester Foundation to GCASA.

The health department is also tasked with ensuring any local buildings with cooling towers are complying with new regulations to help prevent the spread of Legionnaires Disease.

Finally, even though mosquitos carrying the Zika virus aren't likely to make to Western New York, it is a concern to the south of us, so the health department is also monitoring for reports of infections locally -- there have been none so far -- for people who travel.

Petitt also shared that in the five years since Orleans and Genesee counties entered into a shared services agreement for health department services, the two counties have saved about $1 million in costs.

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