SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Earlier this month, the South Orange Department of Health released its 2016 annual public health report, detailing the data regarding animal control, human health issues, enforcement and outreach.
According to the 2010 census, South Orange had approximately 16,200 residents — a number that is surely increasing due to residential construction. Even with this many residents, the Health Department reports only 68 deaths in South Orange in 2016; the mortality rate in South Orange was lower in 2016 than it had been since at least 2010, with the report providing data beginning in 2011.
Of last year’s 68 deaths, 31 were males and 37 were females. As for age ranges, one was between 21 and 30; two between 30 and 40; three between 41 and 50; five between 51 and 60; 12 between 61 and 70; nine between 71 and 80; 25 between 81 and 90; eight between 91 and 100; and three between 101 and 110.
Of the 68 deaths, 15 were attributed to cancer; 31 to heart disease; five to respiratory disease; one to kidney failure; one to stroke; three to sepsis; and 11 to a separate category, which includes injuries, alcohol, drugs, dementia, HIV, liver failure, Parkinson’s, hypothermia, suicide, diabetes and natural causes. At the time the report was filed, one death was still pending attribution.
Doctors across the nation are required to report certain illnesses to their local health departments in an ongoing effort to protect public health. In 2016, the South Orange Health Department received 50 possible cases illnesses needing to be reported; 21 of the cases were confirmed. Of the confirmed cases, five were foodborne, three were parasitical, three were hepatitis, seven were influenza, two were Legionnaire’s disease and one was Lyme disease.
At the 79 retail food establishments, many of the violations observed by the Health Department dealt with facial hair, according to the report. All food establishments were contacted about it.
According to the report, the Health Department received 1,174 complaints in 2016, of which 155, or 13 percent, resulted in enforcement action. Most of these pertained to animal control issues. There were 15 incidents in 2016 of residents being bitten by animals, the report stated.
Each year the health department holds a free pet vaccination clinic. At the January 2016 clinic, 51 animals — 44 dogs and nine cats — were vaccinated against rabies. Despite sending one sample to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services environmental laboratory for rabies testing, South Orange had zero confirmed rabid animals in 2016. In 2016, Essex County had six laboratory confirmed rabid animals: three raccoons, two cats and one bat.
In 2016, South Orange issued 482 dog licenses and 111 cat licenses.
To keep the good news rolling, the report also included plans for 2017, including plans to add a nutrition program to South Orange schools, with approval already gained from Our Lady of Sorrows School, Marshall School, South Mountain School and South Mountain Annex School. This program will focus its efforts on students in the first and second grades.
To see the complete report, visit www.southorange.org.