Researchers focusing on Legionnaires' Disease

Posted at 8:15 AM, Jun 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-01 10:51:11-04

The water experts that revealed lead contamination in Flint were back in the city today to do more testing.

Their research shows the high lead levels in the water are going down, closer to federal safety levels.

Caroline Trice is worrying about the heat and summer temperatures.

"Being warmer you're hot you start sweating more, you want to take more showers to stay clean and the more showers that you take the more you worry," said Trice.

She's not worried about the lead pipes but Legionnaire's Disease.

"We worry about it all of the time," Trice said. "It makes me not even want to bathe the kids. it makes me want to go buy like wipes or something and just do that."

The last two summers, the number of cases of Legionnaires in Flint has increased. In years past, Flint saw 6 to 13 cases but recently they've seen 91 between 2014 and 2015.

"It's really important that we continue monitoring this summer not only to help out Flint residents, but there's a lot that we can learn here because Legionnaires disease is a big problem," said Virginia Tech Professor Dr. Amy Pruden.

Legionella grows best in warm water. Unlike lead disease, drinking water doesn't cause the infection.

"It's more of a breathing water in your lungs kind of problem," Dr. Pruden says. "Taking baths instead of showers and also when you're drinking water to be careful not to choke on it and have it going down the wrong tube."

Dr. Pruden along with other professors from Virginia Tech will be watching the levels closely this summer.

"We're going to start an initiative looking at hot water heaters in Flint residents homes and that's important because Legionella prefers warm water," Dr. Prude said.

Caroline Trice hopes that initiative will help ease her worries about taking a shower.