MDHHS confirms genetic links to 3 cases of Legionnaires disease to McLaren
FLINT, Mich. -- The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirms genetic links to three cases of Legionnaires disease to McLaren Hospital based on a Center for Disease Control sample.
In August 2016, the CDC took samples from patients at McLaren who had Legionnaires in 2015 and 2016. The CDC then provided that data information to MDHHS.
MDHHS said after finding the link they “issued an order through the public health code.” Angela Minicuci spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said, “It’s important we have a scientific link between the water sample taken from McLaren Hospital and three Legionella cases. “
The testing includes water taken from their facility as well as three Legionella cases. MDHHS says this is not a link with the Flint water system, it’s the water taken from McLaren hospital.
MDHHS issued an order for McLaren to immediately correct conditions at their facility to prevent the possible spread of the disease.
Minicuci said, “The biggest concern for us going forward, for the potential of an ongoing risk of exposure to Legionella at McLaren facilities. The order we entered is our next set in protecting the public health moving forward.”
“The order is requesting McLaren to do to cooperate with additional testing, provide additional data, for MDHHS department and a monitor put in place to make sure these things actually happen,” according to Minicuci.
According to the MDHHS, there have been 52 cases of Legionnaires at McLaren in Flint over the past three years. The latest incident happened last November.
Ten people who were patients at McLaren died from the disease.
McLaren Flint issued the following statement:
Our hospital received the State’s order just this afternoon and we are reviewing it now. We have already provided much – it not all – of the information outlined in the order and plan to be fully responsive to the State’s request.
We appreciate that the State has statutory responsibilities to investigate any facility it believes poses a risk to patient or community health. The State had those same responsibilities in 2014 when we and other hospitals first began reporting increased numbers of Legionnaires’ Disease cases. It had those same responsibilities in 2015 and 2016 when Genesee County continued to experience “epidemic” levels of Legionnaires’.
Yet the State provided absolutely no support in 2014 and 2015. Now that criminal charges have been made against several State and City employees and additional indictments are possible, the State is taking an aggressive role in retroactively casting blame for cases it knew about – and did nothing about – for years.
Despite the fact that dozens of Legionnaires’ Disease cases have been reported in patients that have had absolutely no contact with our facilities, and despite the growing consensus among public health and infectious disease specialists that the City’s use of the Flint River as a water source is the prime contributor to our community’s Legionnaires’ Disease epidemic, the State refuses to broaden its perspective and hold itself and others accountable for the inaction of prior years.
Our hospital’s commitment to patient care and safety is absolutely unwavering. We have invested many hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment and ongoing testing and treatment of the water we purchase from the City of Flint. We are proud of our water management plan – which was described by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs as a “national best practice.”
In short, we have – and will continue to – do the right thing for our patients and community.
We challenge the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to the same.