Since beginning the investigation into the Flint Water Crisis, Governor Snyder has assembled a Flint Water Advisory Task Force which has advised and implemented strategies to combat the outbreak and administer aid where needed. This has been very important to the recovery of the city, but the task force has also issued warnings about the future.
Last Friday, Gov. Snyder’s task force predicted a rise in the number of Legionnaires’ disease cases in the Spring. Legionella bacteria thrive in warmer temperatures, and the transition from Winter to Spring could be a catalyst for Legionella proliferation
Mark Bashore did an interview with Dr. Eden Wells, the chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, who made some observations about different risk factors and some recommendations on how to best avoid the problem in the future:
- Identify any buildings with water systems that could have potential risks (i.e. plumbing systems that pool water)
- Larger facilities generally have a greater risk of Legionella
- Facilities with old/immuno-suppressed populations are more at risk than others
- Ensure that a Water Safety Plan is in place, and that adequate chlorination of any water fixtures is maintained
- Self-contained water systems are more at risk than open water systems
In addition to current aid efforts, Dr. Wells is also concerned about the future of Flint and the widespread impact that the water crisis could have on the younger population. It is hard to determine the exact number of children who were exposed to lead, but having all children tested would be a large step in determining the scope of the problem. Some programs may need to be implemented in upcoming years to account for the damage done.
Dr. Wells also asserted that, despite ambiguity about where the Legionella may have originated, she believes that the change from Detroit City water to the Flint River led to conditions that were “ripe” for the growth of Legionella.
To listen to the WKAR interview between Mark Bashore and Dr. Eden Wells, please follow the link: here