DETROIT (WWJ) – The outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Genessee County can not be directly linked to the tainted water in Flint.
That determination came Thursday from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The department released a report saying it cannot conclude that the increase in cases is related to the ongoing Flint water crisis nor can the department rule out an association at this point.
From May of 2015 through October of 2015, 42 cases were reported in Genesee County.
Despite those findings, health officials say they will continue to work with the CDC … and remain diligent to appropriately address the potential for future cases.
Flint has suffered ongoing water quality issues since the city adopted the state-appointed emergency manager’s plan to change the city’s drinking water source, and the city began drawing water from the Flint River as an interim measure in 2014. In the past 16 months, abnormally high levels of e. coli, a dangerous bacteria; trihamlomethanes, which make hot showers potentially toxic; lead, which causes long-term neurological problems; and copper have been found in the city’s water.”
The Flint water crisis has attracted attention from across the nation and even worked its way into political debates. Calls for the governor’s resignation were made by protesters in Lansing as he delivered his State of the State speech Tuesday night.
Legionella is a type of bacteria commonly found in the environment that grows best in warm water, such as hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, potable water systems, and decorative fountains. When people are exposed to the bacteria, it can cause Legionellosis, a respiratory disease that can infect the lungs and cause pneumonia. The bacteria can also cause a less serious infection called Pontiac fever. Legionella is not transmitted person to person.