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Category Press Release
Publish Date 4/22/2016
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Increase Reported in Flint Area Deaths Associated with Legionnaires’ Disease
Introduction EMSL Analytical offers both PCR and traditional culturing methods to identify the pathogen that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

Ann Arbor, MI, April 22nd, 2016

Earlier in April, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated the number of deaths that have been associated with people in Genesee County who have developed Legionnaires’ disease. According to the MDHHS, 12 deaths and 91 cases of Legionnaires’ disease have now been identified in the county from 2014 through 2015.

The agency reports, “The public health investigation has looked at a number of potential exposures that the ill people may have experienced, which included exposures to hospitals, water, and community venues. The investigation was able to identify a common source of exposure for 50 individuals (55 percent) of the 91 total confirmed cases, which is a hospital in Flint, Michigan that is served by the City of Flint municipal water system. MDHHS cannot conclude that the increase is related to the water switch in Flint nor can we rule out a possible association at this time.”

Legionellosis is the name of the respiratory disease caused by Legionella bacteria. If it infects the lungs and causes pneumonia the condition is known as Legionnaires' disease. The bacteria can also cause a less serious infection with symptoms more like a mild case of the flu. That form of legionellosis is commonly referred to as Pontiac fever.

Legionella can be found naturally in the environment and in some manmade environments, typically in water,” said Diane Miskowski, MPH, National Legionella Program Manager at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Disease can occur when people breathe in small droplets of water that contain the bacteria. Legionella is most commonly found in building potable water systems, hot tubs, and cooling tower systems.”

EMSL has 13 CDC ELITE certified labs nationwide. They offer Legionella testing services utilizing PCR and DNA sequencing test methods for the rapid identification of the bacteria along with traditional culturing techniques. These services can be instrumental for proactive monitoring to prevent an outbreak from occurring and for identifying the source of an outbreak.

To learn more about Legionella or other indoor air quality (IAQ) and microbial pathogen testing services, please visit or, email or call (800) 220-3675. EMSL's Cinnaminson, NJ location is hosting a free Legionella Workshop presented by Diane Miskowski, MPH, on June 16th. Click here for more information and to register.

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.

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