BRIDGE: Pneumonia Cases Spike During Flint Water Crisis

“The poor treatment of the water is making (it) more susceptible to being an incubator for these bacteria.”

The Flint Water Plant water tower in Flint, Mich.

The Flint Water Plant water tower in Flint, Mich.


Matt Morley

Since the Flint Water Crisis was first reported, there has been a lot of discussion about it in association with cases of Legionnaire’s disease as there was a spike in the disease during that period of time. In addition, there was also a dramatic spike in cases of pneumonia. And in these bouts of pneumonia, patients were not tested for Legionnaire’s disease, according to a new report from Bridge Magazine by reporter Chastity Pratt Dawsey. 



Detroit Today’s producer Laura Weber-Davis spoke with Dawsey about the possible connection between cases of pneumonia and Legionnaires. 

Twelve people died from Legionnaires during the Flint water crisis. However, 177 died from pneumonia and were never tested for Legionnaires, says Dawsey.

She says that no one in the public really knew that if they, or someone they knew, went to the hospital with pneumonia they should also be tested for Legionnaires. However, health facilities were told by the state to test pneumonia cases for Legionnaires. 

“When you see the number of people dying from pneumonia, almost doubling, only in Flint, and only during the water crisis,” Dawsey says. “For weeks we’ve heard nothing from [the state in response]. This is what happened when Legionnaires broke out in Flint. Nobody talked about it.” 

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation. 



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