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Salmonella poisoning struck in Cattaraugus Freedom boy, 9, has since recovered

One case of Salmonella poisoning has been confirmed in Cattaraugus County since the nationwide outbreak began last September, a health official reported.

Cattaraugus County Board of Health Director Barb Hastings reported to the Board of Health on Wednesday that there may be other cases that have gone unreported in the county, but a 9-year-old Town of Freedom boy who contracted Salmonella poisoning in November is the county's only serious confirmed case. The boy consumed a peanut butter cookie and became ill but has since recovered, she said.

The Salmonella outbreak has led to about 500 reported cases traced to the Peanut Cor. of America, with a manufacturing plant in Georgia. The list of recalled products can be found on the Web site of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health Sanitarian Ray Jordan said a recent test of five pounds of products found in an Olean restaurant turned up negative for Salmonella. He said the ability for Salmonella to resist high temperatures in baking is surprising since it can be killed in poultry by heating it to 165 degrees.

In other matters, Hastings warned that the governor's spending proposal could cost the department $250,000, which she said would be devastating to home health care. She said her analysis of funding for the County Legislature's Finance Committee shows her department depends on 40 government funding streams for overlapping programs.

However, she said passage of the federal stimulus bill could bring more money to state and local health departments for prevention and wellness programs.

The board also received some background information on proposed fee changes and recommended updates to the Clean Indoor Air Act waivers policy. Cattaraugus County is among about half the state's counties that grant waivers.

Board members endorsed a phase-out of smoking waivers and said they will explore a policy change at an upcoming meeting. Current waivers are in effect at Off-Track Betting, Rough Cuts Bar in South Dayton, the Little Valley VFW, Twilight Lanes and Ischua Valley Fire Department.

Information on two options to increase environmental health fees, to reflect costs of inspections and other services, were provided to board members. Fee increases must be approved by the Cattaraugus County Legislature.

One option, to eliminate some fee exemptions for food and lodging, swimming, campgrounds and other service establishments, would bring an additional $17,565 to the county. The second option, to increase fees, would bring another $26,895 in revenues.

In 2008, the Environmental Health Department collected about $177,496 in fees, and the Health Department Laboratory generated $221,484 in fees. Sixty-seven enforcement actions during 2008 brought $15,782 in fines. Since 1991, the department has fined violators a total of $212,063.

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