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Older Woman Drinking Water

Legionnaires’ Disease Found In Michigan Water

The deadly Legionnaires' disease has been found in the water systems of hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities in Michigan. Legionnaires' is deadly about 10% of the time, however, the rate is much higher, 25%, when contracted by individuals with compromised immune systems. 

Legionnaires' is contracted by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionnaires' bacteria, once the bacteria reaches the lungs it causes an infection that leads to pneumonia. The bacteria thrives in stagnant water systems, where disinfectant levels are low, or water temperatures are warm. Healthy people can usually breathe air infected with Legionnaires' without being affected. On the other hand, persons over 50 or those currently suffering from a compromised immune system are easy targets for the bacteria.

Michigan is currently seeing a 143% spike in Legionnaires' disease. While outbreaks generally increase during the warm months, this spike is unprecedented. In June and July of this year 73 cases were confirmed, over the past three years, only 30 cases occurred over those same months. 

The best way to treat Legionnaires' disease is to treat water systems. Disinfectants should be applied to affected systems and stagnant water should be avoided.


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