State officials blocked Flint Legionnaires' probe

Ten of the 87 cases of the disease from June 2014 to November 2015 were fatal.

Feb 16th, 2016

Flint, Mich.. Feb. 15, 2016 -- A county health supervisor saidMichigan authorities blocked health officials from investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that may have been linked to the Flint water crisis.

Ten of the 87 cases of the disease in Michigan's Genesee County, which includes Flint, from June 2014 to November 2015, were fatal. The outbreak began weeks after a switch in Flint's water supply from Detroit to the Flint River in April 2014. The switch has already been linked to lead contamination, but now health and environmental officials have said the new water supply meant treatment changes that could have promoted Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires'.

The root of the Legionnaires' outbreak was never determined, and now Genesee County Environmental Health Supervisor Jim Henry says that is because the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality blocked his office's attempts to get national health authorities involved.

He said his office had urged involvement of the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, but the DEQ prohibited further communication on the matter.

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