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…

January 21, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Florida Hospital Orlando’s water system is undergoing remediation after testing positive for Legionella bacteria last week. So far, no patients at the hospital have tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease.  Hospital officials also said that the hospital’s water is safe to drink. At-risk patients of the hospital are being tested for Legionella and hospital staff have been instructed to take extra measures to prevent vulnerable patients from contracting Legionnaires’ disease. Florida Hospital Orlando’s most recent incident with the pneumonia-causing bacteria occurred in late 2015 when a patient tested positive for Legionella. To read more about this story, please click here.

January 12, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

   Taking a shower is a staple of personal hygiene, and is generally considered a necessity. It is important to stay clean, and showers provide us with that luxury, but the environment that cleans us can also house a number of harmful substances and organisms if not properly maintained. Mirror posted an article detailing a few different ways “your shower could kill you”, and while the article is a little more alarmist than necessary it does provide some interesting facts on a few different bacteria, fungi, and pathogens that can help identify preventative measures. Additionally, the article identifies which populations are…

January 11, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Corey Gutwasser, a 25-year-old in Lakeville, Minnesota is out of his medically induced coma that he was put in last month due to Legionnaires’ disease. According to the University of Minnesota Medical Center, he was exposed to Legionella bacteria in November and was put on life support in December, but is now in stable condition. Gutwasser’s mother, Melanie Buetow, said that her son will need physical rehabilitation to relearn how to talk and eat. The Minnesota Department of Health conducted an investigation and cited Babe’s Bar and Grill in Lakeville as a potential source of Gutwasser’s Legionnaires’ disease.  Gutwasser worked at…