Soaring Pneumonia Deaths in Flint Area May Have Been Legionnaires' Disease
The death toll from pneumonia nearly doubled in Genesee County at the height of the Flint water crisis, supporting the suspicion among medical experts that many of these deaths were actually undiagnosed cases of Legionnaires' disease.
Flint is the largest city in and county seat of Genesee County.
The Michigan Health and Human Services Department has confirmed that 87 people died in the county from pneumonia in 2015. That follows 90 previously confirmed pneumonia deaths in 2014, the year state officials.
That number compares to 53 deaths in 2013, representing the highest increase in Michigan and sharp spike from the previous years before Flint officials made the switch to the Flint River as the source of the community’s drinking water.
The Bridge, a publication from the nonprofit think tank, The Center for Michigan, first reported the possible link after interviewing various medical experts. However the report also adds that there is no way of knowing for sure that Legionnaires’ was the cause since McLaren Flint, a major hospital in Flint, or county or state health officials failed to order routine testing of pneumonia patients for Legionnaires', even well after becoming aware of a Legionnaires' outbreak in 2014.
More details here.