FLINT, Mich. (WOOD) — Legionella bacteria was found in water at a Flint hospital during an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Genesee County, the Detroit News reports.
The Detroit News reports an expert hired by McLaren Regional Medical Center said the bacteria likely came from Flint River water after switching from Detroit’s water system.
The hospital spokesperson confirmed to the Detroit News that in the spring 2014 the hospital did tests of its water after noticing an increase in Legionnaires’ disease.
Currently, “All Legionella testing continues to show McLaren Flint water supply is well within safety and quality standards,” the hospital spokesperson wrote in an email to the Detroit News.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says it can’t confirm if a spike in cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Genesee County was related to lead contamination in Flint water – but it can’t rule out the bad water as the cause, either.
In a report released Thursday, the state said that between June 2014 and November 2015, there were 86 cases of Legionnaires’. Among those 87 cases, there were nine deaths associated with the disease.
Earlier this month, the state said that the 45 cases between June 2014 and March 2015 caused seven deaths, but Thursday’s report revised that number to five. It also said the 42 cases between May and October 2015 caused four deaths rather than the previously stated three.>>State: Spike in Legionnaires’ following Flint water switch
Those figures changed, the release said, because some of the deaths happened more than 30 days after the person was discharged from the hospital.
Legionnaires’, a respiratory illness that can lead to a serious form of pneumonia, and the less serious infection Pontiac fever are caused by the Legionella bacteria. That bacteria grows best in warm water, like hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, potable water systems and decorative fountains, according to MDHHS. The illnesses are not contagious between people.