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Additional 2015 death from Legionnaire's Disease

Posted at 11:19 AM, Mar 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-18 11:19:23-04

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has reported an additional fatal case of Legionnaire's Disease from 2015.

MDHHS identified the new case after conducting a review of all diseases from Legionnaire's Disease in the state. The person was not a resident of Genesee County but had been hospitalized at a Genesee County hospital within the two week incubation period of developing Legionnaire's symptoms.

The case had originally been referred to the Shiawasee County Health Department because of the individual's residence. Because the investigation has revealed the association with the Genesee County Hospital, the case is now counted as part of the 2015 outbreak.

In a press release, the MDHHS had the following information about the Legionnaire's Disease outbreak:

"Of the 88 total confirmed cases between June 2014 and November 2015, 31 people, or 35 percent, received city of Flint water to their residence. A total of 26 people, or 30 percent, had no known exposure to a Flint hospital in the two weeks prior to illness, nor were their homes on the Flint water system. Other possible exposures were evaluated and no known community or residential exposures have been identified.

For the May 2015 to October 2015 time period, 43 LD cases and five deaths have been confirmed in the Genesee County outbreak. Data previously indicated 42 cases and four Legionnaires-associated deaths for 2015. The number of cases for June 2014 through March 2015 time period has remained unchanged with 45 LD cases confirmed, including five associated fatalities."

Legionella bacteria is typically found in an environment that grows best in warm water, such as hot tubs, cooling towers, drinking water systems and decorative water fountains. When people are exposed to the bacteria, they can become infected with legionellosis, a respiratory disease that can affect that lungs and cause pneumonia.