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Legionnaires’ Disease Linked to 2 More Deaths in Flint

Kathleen Becker8 months ago

According to Reuters, Michigan state officials reported on Monday that the lead-contaminated drinking water crisis in Flint may be the cause for two more deaths related to Legionnaires’ disease bringing the death toll to 12.

About the Flint Legionnaires' Disease Crisis

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, there were 87 cases of Legionnaires’ disease and 10 deaths that were reported in the month of January, and in 2014 and 2015 reports of 91 cases.

A statement from the MDHHS personal department identified these cases from the hospital testing data.  Michigan officials have stated that half of these cases were connected to the water crisis.

To save money, Flint switched their source of tap water to Detroit’s system to the Flint River in April of 2014, which was under control of a state-appointed emergency manager.

Children’s blood samples were showing high levels of lead which ultimately led the city to switch back last October.  The corrosive water from the river developed more lead from the city pipes than Detroit water did. 

State officials knew about the Legionnaires’ outbreak and its possible link to the water system problems almost a year prior to the public announcement.  Michigan auditors are trying to get state health officials to investigate how the crisis was handled.      

Legionaires Disease Information

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Legionnaires’ disease occurs when the Legionella bacteria infects the lungs causing pneumonia.

Inhaling mists that are infected with Legionella from air-conditioned units in larger buildings, hot tubs or even showers can result in infection.

Children, older people, smokers and those with lung disease, a weak immune system, or who undergoing chemotherapy are at an increased risk of infection.

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