The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has released emails between the department and the Genesee County Health Department regarding a spike in Legionnaire's Disease. The department released the emails to clarify its role in investigating the surge in cases.
The department became aware of the increase of Legionnaire's cases in the fall of 2014 in Genesee County, and determined that additional support from the state was needed.
According to the MDHHS, state epidemiologists conducted interviews with people who were infected, and reviewed medical records of Flint residents. They contacted the Centers for Disease Control and worked with the Genesee County Health Department on the public health response to reach out to the health care community to promote testing of suspected cases.
As part of their outreach efforts, MDHHS helped develop public messages, created a healthcare provider message for the Genesee County Health Department, and offered guidance on distribution of resources.
MDHHS director Nick Lyon said, “To be successful in this mission, we rely on strong relationships with our partners at the local level including primary care providers, community organizations, health plans, and most importantly our local health departments. This is true in normal times, and it is essential during emergencies like the Flint water crisis.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is now working with local and national environmental health officials to prevent future Legionnaires disease cases.
MDHHS reports that it continues to distribute water filters, develop and share educational materials, provide behavioral health services, fund nurse case managers, provide fresh foods and expand the Pathways to Potential program in Flint.