State revises Legionnaires’ Flint deaths down to 9

Chad Livengood Detroit News Lansing Bureau

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services revised its report Thursday on the Legionnaires’ disease spike in the Flint area from June 2014 through October 2015, lowering the death count from 10 to nine.

The state health department’s preliminary Jan. 13 report said three people died between May 2015 and October 2015. Wednesday’s completed report added one more death linked to the legionella respiratory disease, which can cause pneumonia.

The completed report lowered the number of Legionnaires’ deaths between June 2014 and March 2015 from seven to five deaths.

Although the number of Legionnaires’ cases remains the same in Genesee County, the total “associated fatalities” dropped to nine “because some cases occurred outside of the 30-day period of hospital discharge,” the state department said.

Health officials have not determined whether there a direct link between Flint switching to Flint River water and the Legionnaires’ outbreak of 87 confirmed cases from June 2014 through October, when Flint switched back to Detroit’s Lake Huron water supply.

“We’ve not been able to draw a direct linkage to the general water supply at this time,” Dr. Eden Wells, the state’s chief medical executive, said Thursday.

But there have been no cases of Legionnaires’ in Genesee County since October, Wells said.