FLINT (WWJ/AP) – A group led by Wayne State University researchers is moving forward on efforts to evaluate possible links between changes in Flint’s water system and public health.

The Flint Area Community Health and Environment Partnership (FACHEP) announced this week it’s begun implementing an 18-month plan to address the area’s risk for Legionnaires’ disease. Study plans were announced earlier this year in the wake of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak.

Shawn McElmurry, the lead principal investigator, said there are three critical areas experts will focus on during the study.

“With input from the community and a number of health care partners in Flint and Genesee County, we developed a three-pronged approach to investigating the cause of these outbreaks and reducing the community risk of more illness in the future,” McElmurry said in a statement. “Environmental monitoring of the water supply, enhanced environmental monitoring of at-risk populations, and open communications are the areas FACHEP will focus its resources on over the next year.”

This week, officials confirmed the first case of Legionnaires’ disease this year in Genesee County, which includes Flint.

At least 91 Legionnaires’ cases, including 12 deaths, were detected over a 17-month period in the Flint area between 2014 and 2015. Some experts have linked the outbreak to Flint’s lead-tainted water crisis after the city switched to Flint River water in 2014.

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