Flint's Water Not Tested Even After 9 Deaths From Legionnaires'

The public wasn't even told until months after the deadly outbreak
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2016 3:45 PM CST
Flint's Water Not Tested Even After 9 Deaths From Legionnaires'
Flint's drinking water became tainted when the city switched from the Detroit system and began drawing from the Flint River in April 2014 to save money.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The water in Flint, Michigan, still hasn't been tested for the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease despite being the likely source of an outbreak that killed nine people and sickened another 78 between May 2014 and November 2015, the Detroit News reports. The New York Times alleges the deadly outbreak was handled the same way the larger Flint water crisis was: through "a failure to act swiftly to address a dangerous problem or warn the public." In fact, state officials didn't even let the public know about the outbreak of Legionnaires' until last month.

The outbreak started six months after Flint switched to the Flint River as its water source. Genesee County raised concerns about the water being a likely source of Legionnaires' in 2014, and five government agencies—including the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the EPA—were aware of it. Not one of them followed through by actually testing the water. One Flint resident who contracted Legionnaires' tells the Times he believes the state doesn't want to know if the water caused the outbreak because it doesn't want to be tied to the deaths. (More Flint, Michigan stories.)

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