A bacteria found in warm, stagnant water is blamed for 10 deaths and a growing number of Legionnaires’ disease cases in Genessee County during the past two summers, Gov. Rick Snyder said Wednesday.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reports an increase in cases of Legionnaires’ in Genessee County, where Flint is located, during the summers of 2014 and 2015. The jump followed the switch in the city’s water source from the Detroit system to the Flint River, which caused lead to be injected into drinking water, but Snyder says officials have not determined if the increase in Legionnaires’ cases is related.
The Department reports 87 cases and 10 deaths from the disease, which is linked to Legionella, a bacteria commonly found in warm stagnant water sources such as hot tubs and hot water tanks. It can cause a respiratory disease that infects the lungs and causes pneumonia.
Although reports of the Legionnaires’ cases date back roughly 18 months, Snyder says he was just recently made aware of the reports.
“We wanted to make sure we share this information, ” Snyder told reporters Wednesday in Detroit. ”We don’t want to see people make a change in recommendations we made but we want to make sure that people are broadly aware that this is an issue, that we’re taking actions to address it. And we’ll be on top of it in respect to any change in recommendations as we approach the summer time.”