Ann Arbor, MI, March 14th, 2016
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a warning on March 10, 2016 regarding the risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease as warmer weather approaches. This warning is in response to the increases in the number of Legionnaires’ disease cases in 2014 and 2015 in Genessee County that many suspect was caused by the city of Flint switching the source of their drinking water from Lake Michigan to the Flint River. Studies are now underway to monitor the presence of Legionella bacteria in the water.
Legionella bacteria are found naturally in surface water, ground water and soil. The bacteria are also found in the biofilm that forms inside the pipes of building water systems. When aerosolized water containing Legionella is inhaled or aspirated, it can cause Legionnaires’ disease. Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include fever, chills and coughing. Those generally considered to be at a higher risk include the elderly, current or former smokers, those with chronic lung disease and those with a weak immune system due to other diseases or because of prescription drugs that suppress the immune system.
“A degradation in water quality that may result from a source water change, power outages that affect water treatment, loss of biocides used to treat drinking water, water main flushing, and other water supply interruptions may increase the risk of exposure to Legionella,” said Diane Miskowski, MPH, National Legionella Program Manager at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “People need to know that the incidence of Legionellosis has tripled in the U.S. in the last few years. Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac Fever should not be considered as rare occurrences. These diseases are preventable by understanding the ecology of the organism, identifying groups of people who are most at risk of contracting the disease, identifying those groups of at risk people who may lack basic medical care, and by monitoring for the bacteria to get a better understanding of who is exposed.”
To learn more about Legionella and our testing services, please visit www.LegionellaTesting.com or for service questions, please contact EMSL’s Diane Miskowski, MPH, for expert information at 1-800-220-3675 extension 2528.
To view a complete list of EMSL’s laboratory locations, accreditations and capabilities, please visit www.EMSL.com. For more information about EMSL’s testing services please call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.