Between June 2014 and November 2015, there were 87 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint, with 10 ending in death, according to Wells. The fatality rate for the disease ranges from 5 to 30 percent depending on access to antibiotics and other factors, according to the US National Library of Medicine.
The source of the drinking water in Flint was changed from Lake Huron to the Flint River in April 2014. Although the river water was sent to a city water treatment plant, its salt levels were overlooked, causing the lead pipes to corrode. The changeover was noticed by residents right away. Though they complained of bad tastes and smells after the changeover, the Department of Environmental Quality only conceded its failure in October of 2015. DEQ had not added the chemicals necessary to combat corrosion in the pipes, leaving the water to dissolve lead, a poisonous metal.
The water source was switched back in October.
Governor Rick Snyder (R) declared a state of emergency because of the situation earlier this month, and on Tuesday activated the Michigan Army National Guard to join with the Michigan State Police and other officials in dispensing bottled water, filters, and test kits door-to-door. If a door knock isn’t answered, the “water resource teams” leave an information sheet instead.
Furthermore, all parents of Flint children aged 6 years or younger were encouraged to go to a hospital to have their blood tested for lead exposure.
What is Legionnaires’ disease? Severe pneumonia from an inhaled bacterium.
Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia — lung inflammation usually caused by infection. Legionnaires’ disease is caused by a bacterium known as legionella.
You can’t catch Legionnaires’ disease from person-to-person contact. Instead, most people get Legionnaires’ disease from inhaling the bacteria. Older adults, smokers and people with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to Legionnaires’ disease.