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Michigan reports 10 deaths due to Legionnaire's disease as lead-contaminated drinking water infects Flint

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January 18
5:17 AM 2016

Michigan county officials reported that there have been 10 cases of deaths due to Legionnaires' disease over the past year. This issue follow increasing concerns over the lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint.

The Atlantic reported that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced the news Wednesday amidst the increasing water-supply crisis in the area. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services chief medical executive Dr. Edith Wells said there were 87 cases of the Legionnaires' disease in the Genesse County from June 2014 to November 2015. The area usually has fewer cases than the recent report.

According to Reuters, the officials couldn't link the increase in the cases and the issue with Flint's water supply. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director Nick Lyon said half of the cases were caused by Flint's water, while the other half were not linked. Governor Rick Snyder said, "That just adds to the disaster we already are facing with respect to elevated lead levels."

The Legionnaires disease is a kind of pneumonia that can infect a victim who inhaled mist contaminated with the bacteria called Legionella. The mist usually comes from hot tubs, showers, and air-conditioning units. The Legionella bacteria thrive in warm, fresh water.

Meanwhile, OA Now wrote that Flint's tap water got contaminated with high levels of lead due to the switch in water supply back in 2014 in a move to cut cost. In October, officials in the area declared a state of public health emergency as children showed increased levels of lead.

Governor Snyder requested the help of the National Guard, who arrived in Flint last Wednesday. Lt. Col. William Humes said half-a-dozen representatives went to the area to help distribute bottled water and other supplies to the people.

Mayor Karen Weaver has declared a state of emergency in Flint December 15 over its toxic drinking water. Other areas in the surrounding county could suffer the same problem in the future due to ageing pipes. 

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