FLINT (WWJ/AP) – Testimony is resuming in Flint, Michigan, as a judge considers whether the state’s health director should go to trial for the death of a man who had Legionnaires’ disease during the city’s water crisis.
Corinne Miller is returning to the witness stand Wednesday. Michigan’s former head of disease control believes a spike in Legionnaires’ in Genesee County in 2014-15 was related to a switch in Flint’s water supply.
Miller’s former boss, Nick Lyon, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office. Prosecutors say a timely alert about the Legionnaires’ outbreak might have saved 85-year-old Robert Skidmore, who died of congestive heart failure six months after he got Legionnaires’.
Nearly 100 cases of Legionnaires’, including 12 deaths, were detected in the Flint area in 2014 and 2015 while the city was using the Flint River for water. Legionnaires’ is a pneumonia caused by bacteria that thrive in warm water and infect the lungs. Cooling systems and misting fountains can be sources.
Skidmore’s home didn’t have Flint water, but it’s believed he got Legionnaires’ while in a hospital that used the water.
Lyon remains director of the Health and Human Services Department. Miller pleaded no contest to willful neglect of duty for failing to inform the public about the outbreak. She was sentenced to probation.
Flint used the Flint River for 18 months but didn’t treat the water to reduce corrosion. As a result, lead leached from old plumbing and contaminated the system. The city returned to a regional water source in fall 2015 after Snyder finally acknowledged the disaster. Water quality has greatly improved, but residents still are advised to use tap filters.
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