March 17, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

      Image Credit: Zach Gibson/The New York Times      Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Gina McCarthy attended a house hearing today regarding the water crisis in Flint, MI. The hearing was intended to clarify some of the circumstances surrounding the water crisis, and give both the governor and EPA a chance to publicly speak about their perspective. While appearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Governor Snyder admitted that the Flint water crisis was a result of a “failure of government at all levels”. This statement served two purposes for Governor Snyder: it…

March 10, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

         The marvel of modern medicine has drastically changed the way society functions on an everyday basis. Obviously the benefits of the advancements from the past century outweigh the drawbacks, but some issues have arisen from our progress that threaten the very purpose for which the advancements were made. For instance, the discovery of the first antibiotic, Penicillen, in 1928 by Alexander Fleming was one of the most groundbreaking advancements in modern history, and has allowed for the treatment of bacterial infections since. This greatly reduced the death rate and pioneered a new realm of medicine that has been…

March 8, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

        Most occupations adhere to standards of safety or quality that are developed over many years, and designing interior building systems is no exception. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE) is an organization that produces updated standards and guidelines for jobs involving central systems in buildings. The guidelines are not guaranteed to prevent accidents or eradicate risks, but are generally considered the best ways to prevent undesirable occurrences. The ASHRAE 12-2000 Guideline, entitled Minimizing the Risk of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems, focuses on what architects, construction companies, and maintenance employees…

March 3, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has demanded $11,071 in response to a public records request from CNN regarding the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Flint, MI that sickened 87 and killed nine individuals. The invoiced amount was requested in order to “prepare” any emails and documents that involved the discussion Legionnaires’ disease among state officials. Jim Henry, Health Director of Genesee County allegedly told CNN at one point that the severity of the outbreak may have been reduced had the state health department stepped in to help the local health department locate the source.  The source is currently…

February 25, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

        The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has been the subject of media attention and national outrage during the past many months, and the people of Flint are in the early stages of seeking justice for the negligent actions of their government. Lead poisoning was seen as the largest concern initially because it effects young children in drastic ways that can permanently alter cognitive and physical development. However, other ailments, such as Legionnaires’ disease, were not focused on quite as much. In fact, some victims and families of victims believe that the government intentionally kept quiet about…

February 12, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Don Kooy, president of McLaren Hospital, and experts say that they suspect the Flint River as the source of Legionella bacteria that were found in the hospital’s water system over a year ago. Kooy was surprised that, although the bacteria were discovered over a year ago, the health agencies did not inform the public of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Genesee County until just a few weeks ago.  Flint residents’ complaints of dirty tap water had been going on for some time, but little information was provided to the public. “It’s a public health issue,” said Kooy. “There were people in…

February 11, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

53 pages of e-mails released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) shows the concern over water quality in Genesee County and the potential of Legionnaires’ disease. The MDHHS was aware of the spike in Legionnaires’ disease cases in Genessee County since at least October 2014.  From the e-mails, it appears that the Genesee County Health Department was going to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rather than communicating with the state health department. A February 2015 e-mail from Shannon Johnson of the MDHHS shows the state health department’s frustrations over seven months of trying to…

February 5, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Portuguese researchers published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine on February 4, 2016 suggesting that they have found a case in which Legionella bacteria were transmitted person-to-person. The case involves a 48-year-old man who works as a maintenance worker at an industrial cooling tower complex.  He became infected with Legionella pneumophila in October 2014 and was one of the first cases involved in a cluster of cases in Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal. The man lived with his 74-year-old mother and when he developed respiratory symptoms including severe cough, she took care of him.  Approximately two weeks later, the…

January 26, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

        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…

January 22, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

(Photo: Martha Thierry Detroit Free Press, Tribune News Service)     The Michigan Department of Health has made a recommendation to any media outlets reporting on the Flint water crisis to report that 9 people, not 10, died due to symptoms resulting from Legionnaires’ disease. This distinction is important because it helps to keep reporting factual, and reduces the ambiguity when determining the cause of death of the victims with comorbid health issues.     For example, an elderly gentleman with multiple health issues may contract Legionnaires’ disease and later pass away, but his passing may not have been specifically…