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Legionnaires' disease

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge must now decide if there is enough evidence to send Michigan’s health director to trial on involuntary manslaughter charges. Closing arguments came today in Nick Lyon's preliminary hearing.

Lyon is charged in connection with a Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Genesee County from 2014 to 2015 that killed at least a dozen people. The charges against him are related to two men who died in 2015. 

Lyon and other state health department officials were aware of the outbreak in January 2015. But a public announcement was not made until a year later.   

black and white bacteria under microscope
Wikimedia Commons

The state says warm weather is partly to blame for an increase in the number of legionella-related illnesses – including Legionnaires’ disease – across Michigan.

From January 1 through July 6, the state Department of Health and Human Services confirmed 135 cases.

That compares with 107 cases during the same period last year.

MDHHS is investigating the cases with local health departments.

The bacteria that causes Legionnaires' grows faster in warming, stagnant waters, so it's most common in the summer and early fall.

old building
Wayne State University / Flickr

Wayne State University has confirmed two contract workers on a construction project have been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease.

That’s a total of three diagnosed cases in two months.

In May, a university employee was diagnosed with the pneumonia-like illness.

Wayne State began testing its water systems soon after that.

Legionnaires' is not contagious, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It's contracted by breathing in mist containing legionella bacteria.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Two academics who’ve played key roles in the Flint water crisis are now facing off in a lawsuit.

The Old Main building at Wayne State University
Wikimedia Commons

Wayne State University announced Wednesday night that the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease was found in the cooling towers on three campus buildings and in the bathrooms of three others.

The university tested 16 buildings after an employee who works in the Faculty Administration Building was diagnosed with Legionnaires’— a severe form of pneumonia that can be caused by breathing in water droplets containing the legionella bacteria.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state health department is out with a new report on the deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Genesee County.

The Michigan Department Health and Human Services makes an old claim linking most of the legionella cases to Flint’s McLaren hospital.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

A Flint water researcher might have thrown a monkey wrench into prosecutors' case against Nick Lyon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Lyon is being prosecuted by the state on charges of involuntary manslaughter and misconduct. Another agency official is charged with obstruction of justice.

The wrench: a complaint lodged by Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards, the researcher who first came forward with evidence that Flint had elevated levels of lead in its drinking water. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A disagreement between Flint water crisis researchers is escalating.

Virginia Tech Professor Marc Edwards has filed a complaint against a Wayne State University professor over claims he’s made about research into a deadly Legionella outbreak in Genesee County.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards is expected to testify this week during a pair of criminal hearings related to the Flint water crisis.

Marc Edwards’ research into Flint’s tainted tap water has been referenced several times during testimony in state Health department director Nick Lyon and Michigan Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells’ preliminary exams.

Now defense counsels for both state officials want him on the stand.

Michigan State University sign
Wikimedia Commons / public domain

Michigan State University's interim president and former Gov. John Engler has appointed an interim athletic director and said that no candidates from MSU would be considered for the permanent job. He has also ordered MSU staff to preserve anything that could be evidence for various sexual assault investigations.

Flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Researchers have linked a Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Genesee County to a switch to the Flint River for drinking water.

During the Legionnaires' disease outbreaks in 2014 and 2015, twelve people died and 79 people became sick.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Wayne State University professor testified today that the state health department director worried a study of a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak would upset the public.

At least a dozen people died during the outbreak from 2014 to 2015 in Genesee County.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge is considering whether to allow testimony that could link state health director Nick Lyon to an effort to limit a study into a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak.

Lyon is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office.  

Wayne State University environmental engineering professor Shawn McElmurry was part of a team studying the legionella outbreak in Genesee County from 2014 through 2015.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A top state health department official listened as a county health department worker testified in court Tuesday about state agencies blocking a Legionnaires Disease outbreak investigation. 

James Henry testified he started working on Flint’s water problems on his first day at the Genesee County Health Department in the fall of 2014. The outbreak killed at least 12 people from 2014 through the end of 2015. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Testifying in court today, the daughter of a man who died of Legionnaires' disease in 2015 testified she was not made aware of a deadly outbreak that was underway in Genesee County at the time.

Mary Anne Tribble says her elderly father led an active life, despite some health issues. But his health deteriorated quickly in June of 2015, following a trip to Flint’s McLaren Hospital. Tribble says she and other family members were with him when he died.

“That’s when we found out he had Legionella,” Tribble told the judge.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Democrats tried and failed today to get a congressional committee to subpoena documents from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder related to the Flint water crisis.

Questions have been raised about when Snyder learned of a deadly Legionnaires; disease outbreak.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It appears many officials in the Snyder administration were aware of a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Genesee County in early 2015. But they didn’t want to let the public know.

State health department officials knew of the Legionella outbreak in January 2015. However, the government didn’t inform the public until January 2016.

At least 12 people died and dozens more were sickened by the Legionnaires' outbreak, which may have been linked to the Flint water crisis.

State health department director Nick Lyon is among several government officials facing involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the outbreak.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is sidestepping questions concerning whether Governor Rick Snyder may have misled congress about when he learned of a deadly Legionnaires Disease outbreak.

Between 2014 and 2015, at least 12 people died after contracting Legionnaires in Genesee County. Dozens more fell ill with the bacteria pneumonia. Prosecutors have charged or announced their intent to charge six government officials with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the outbreak, which they say is connected to Flint's drinking water crisis.  

Appearing before a congressional committee investigating the Flint water crisis, Gov. Snyder testified under oath last year that he didn’t learn of the outbreak in Genesee County until January, 2016.  But as part of the criminal probe of the Flint water crisis, a top aide to the governor testified they talked about the outbreak a month earlier.

governor rick snyder
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A congressional committee has asked Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to address when he learned about a fatal outbreak of Legionnaires' disease during the Flint water crisis after an aide contradicted the governor's timeline.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A court hearing concerning the state health director’s handling of a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak abruptly ended today amid questions about when the governor knew about the outbreak.

Governor Rick Snyder testified last year before Congress that he learned of the Legionnaires' outbreak in Genesee County in January 2016. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Who should issue a health alert and when they  should do it became the focus during a long day in a Genesee County courtroom today. 

State health department Director Nick Lyon is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Genesee County man in 2015.

More than a dozen people died during the Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Genesee County from 2014 to the end of 2015.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

An infectious disease expert says the public should have been alerted to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Genesee County sooner. 

At least a dozen people died from the respiratory illness between 2014 and 2015. 

State health officials were discussing concerns about an outbreak in January 2015. But the government did not publicly acknowledge the outbreak until January 2016.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Attorneys spent hours Thursday battling over what the state’s chief health official knew about a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak, and when. 

Between 2014 and 2015, a dozen people died and dozens more were hospitalized for the respiratory illness.  

In January 2015, state health department officials started circulating an email raising concerns about a rising number of Legionnaires' cases in Genesee County. But it was another year before state officials publicly announced the outbreak.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This will be a busy week for Flint water crisis prosecutors.

A Monday court hearing will handle motions in the criminal cases against five MDEQ employees, including Liane Shekter-Smith. She was was fired from her job as head of the department’s drinking water unit. 

The five (Shekter-Smith, Michael Prysby, Stephen Busch, Adam Rosenthal and Patrick Cook) are facing a variety of charges, including misconduct in office, tampering with evidence, conspiracy, willful neglect of duty.  

McLaren Hospital in Flint and the Genesee County Health Department have been working with the Centers for Disease Control since a court order is preventing local officials from talking directly with the state health department.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The family of a Grand Blanc woman, who family members believe died from Legionnaires’ disease in 2015, is suing Governor Rick Snyder and McLaren Regional Medical Center, among other named defendants, in a lawsuit filed Thursday.

Bertie Marble died March 20, 2015 while she was a patient at Flint’s McLaren Hospital. Attorney Bill Goodman is representing the family members that filed the lawsuit. He claims the decision by state officials to switch Flint's water source to the Flint River exposed Marble to Legionnella bacteria, and that state officials and the hospital failed to tell patients at McLaren about the risk.

Legionella pneumophila
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

State officials are working with health departments in Detroit and Macomb, Wayne and Oakland counties to investigate an increase in Legionnaires' disease cases.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Friday that 73 cases of legionellosis were identified in June and July in southeastern Michigan.

An average of 30 cases were identified over the same two months from 2014-2016.

Todd Flood
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

More charges may be coming in the Flint water investigation.

Special Counsel Todd Flood hinted at the possibility of new charges during a hearing for a defendant facing an involuntary manslaughter charge in connection with a fatal Legionnaires' disease case.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Defense attorneys oppose a move by prosecutors to consolidate Flint water crisis criminal cases.

Michigan's Chief Medical Executive, Dr. Eden Wells, is charged with “obstruction of justice” and “lying to an officer” in connection with a Legionnaires' Disease outbreak during Flint’s tap water crisis.  She made a brief appearance in court today in Flint.   

During the hearing, prosecutors raised the potential of consolidating all the ongoing criminal cases in the Flint water probe into one court. Currently, the 13 cases are spread among several different judges in 67th district court. 

legionella bacteria
Wikipedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

New data suggest people who have tested negative for Legionnaires' disease may actually have been infected and not known it.

That's according to research by University of Michigan professor Michele Swanson.

Swanson's research shows only one type of Legionella, "serotype 1," shows up positive on the traditional Legionnaires' disease diagnostic test. 

bill schuette announcing charges
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The involuntary manslaughter charges announced last week against the head of Michigan's health department and four other former state and Flint city officials have made big headlines. Why? Because such charges are exceptionally rare.

Adam Candeub, a professor of law at Michigan State University, joined Stateside today to put the charges into context.

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