Deaths from Legionnaires’ disease in Flint area reach 12 during water crisis

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Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

The death toll from Legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area has increased to 12 in 2014 and 2015, according to an ongoing investigation by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service.

The number of people diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease also spiked to 91 between April 2014 and October 2015, when the state forced Flint residents to rely on the highly corrosive Flint River for drinking water. In 2012 and 2013, only 21 Flint-area residents had been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, a bacterial infection linked to bad water.

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The state initially reported 10 people had died from Legionnaires’ disease during the water switch.

“To date, 91 cases and 12 deaths have been identified in total for 2014 and 2015 in Genesee County,” said Eden Wells, M.D., Chief Medical Executive with the MDHHS. “We remain vigilant in identifying any potential case associated with the outbreak.”

While state officials said they cannot confirm the outbreak was caused by the lack of corrosion control in Flint’s drinking water, health experts said the Flint River is likely the cause of the outbreak.

Gov. Rick Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder

Records show that the Environmental Protection Agency warned of a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak in the Flint area in April 2015, more than eight months before Gov. Rick Snyder publicly acknowledged the health crisis. Snyder claims he knew nothing of the outbreak until January 2016, even though e-mails show his administration was well aware. 

The EPA offered technical assistance, but state officials declined it, even after acknowledging the state was not experienced in overseeing the treatment of corrosion control, records show.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • Dongald Trumpenis

    Really enjoyed reading how Snyder’s state-funded lawyers say he can’t be sued because it didn’t happen within 6 months of him poisoning Flint.

    Let that be a lesson to you, kids. If you can stonewall for 6 months, you get off scott free.

    Republican scumbag!

  • Dongald Trumpenis

    Really enjoyed reading how Snyder’s state-funded lawyers say he can’t be sued because it didn’t happen within 6 months of him poisoning Flint.

    Let that be a lesson to you, kids. If you can stonewall for 6 months, you get off scott free.

    Republican scumbag!

  • Harry Palmer

    I’m sure he’ll deflect all blame of this too, on some other “career bureaucrat” .

  • Cassandra InDetroit

    Got a lead for you. That $90 million that President Obama & Washington approved for Flint arrived in January earlier this year. Snyder sits on it while Mayor Karen Weaver struggles to do one house at a time. She has not gained access to the money. His administration is trying to save them/himself using the money to leverage a favorable. Needs to be exposed. Found it buried deep in one of the daily’s… js

  • Cassandra InDetroit

    Got a lead for you. That $90 million that President Obama & Washington approved for Flint arrived in January earlier this year. Snyder sits on it while Mayor Karen Weaver struggles to do one house at a time. She has not gained access to the money. His administration is trying to save them/himself using the money to leverage a favorable. Needs to be exposed. Found it buried deep in one of the daily’s… js

    • Donald E. Hodge

      Very Interesting.Did you get that F.B.I,?

      • Cassandra InDetroit

        Nope. Buried deep in detnews.com. very deep

  • Tim Burke

    The federal government needs to arrest him on manslaughter charges, they fricken gave Kwame 28 years he didn’t kill anybody, this piece of poop is lying through his teeth and getting away with murder

  • Donald E. Hodge

    How many more people have to die before this son of a bitch is arrested.