Legionnaires’ Disease Kills 10 in Genesee County Since Switch to Flint River Water
87 cases of a severe form of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ Disease have been reported in Genesee County since the switch to Flint River water, and 10 of those cases have been fatal.
The CDC describes Legionella as a bacteria that is found in hot tubs, hot water tanks, fountains and -- get ready -- large plumbing systems. People exposed to the bacteria develop Legionnaires’ disease. When you look at the timeline, from June of 2014 to March of 2015 (11 months) there were 45 cases documented in Genesee County, seven of which were fatal (4.09 cases per month). From May '15 to November '15 (seven months) 42 cases were on the books, three of those were fatal (6 per month).
Many were concerned about high lead levels in the Flint water system, and officials told us the water was safe to drink. A year-and-a-half later we're under a state of emergency because of lead in the water. Today officials are not confirming the spike is related to the water switch and at last report claim the water is safe for bathing in and washing with, but some residents aren't convinced.
It took more than a year to finally get some action out of the state and federal government. Let's hope government officials treat this spike in Legionnaires’ Disease as seriously as it needs to be taken.