The Saginaw Bay Science Committee together with the Michigan Department of Community Health has developed a human health survey to help capture possible illnesses associated with recreational and drinking water exposures in the Saginaw Bay area (Arenac, Bay, Huron, Iosco, and Tuscola Counties). The survey, named WaterWatch is located on the web at www.michigan.gov/healthwatch. At the website, participants should select the survey called 'WaterWatch - Saginaw Bay Water Survey'. The website will be available 24 hours/day and can accommodate hundreds of visitors simultaneously.
The survey will be available to anyone who visits and recreates in the Saginaw Bay area and will focus on water exposures occurring within by allowing users to self-report illnesses believed to be associated with exposure to water, sand, or muck. Persons are encouraged to report regardless if they are not ill enough to seek medical attention or have confirmed cases of illness with an associated water exposure. The survey will ask questions pertaining to illness onset, symptoms experienced, duration of illness, exposure location, duration of exposure, type of exposure (recreational or drinking water), water activities, weather conditions, odors present, debris present, wildlife observed, etc.
MDCH epidemiologists will be monitoring the data routinely, analyzing the data for trends over time and relaying de-identified human illness/reported exposure data to toxicologists at Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. MDCH and MDEQ together will determine and implement the appropriate public health intervention should the data indicate action.
The intent of WaterWatch is to increase public health surveillance for waterborne diseases, both sporadic cases and potential outbreak situations. MDCH and MDEQ will work together to coordinate illness data and environmental data in hopes of detecting potential health risks in the Saginaw Bay area and implement an appropriate public health intervention.
For more information on the Saginaw Bay Science Committee or recreational water illnesses, please visit the Bay County website at www.baycounty-mi.gov, the Huron County Health Department website at www.huron.localhealth.net or the Tuscola County Health Department's website at www.tchd.us .