Michigan takes action on 2016 Legionella cases in Genesee County

FLINT, MI – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is requiring Genesee County Health Department and McLaren Flint to take immediate corrective action to reduce the risk of future exposure to Legionella at the hospital.

As a result of the Michigan Court of Appeals vacating the Protective Orders in Genesee County on December 20, 2016, MDHHS has begun a review of the 2016 Legionella cases in Genesee County.

“This strong action demonstrates why the Department must be able to hold local health departments, hospitals and health facilities accountable under the Public Health Code,” said Nick Lyon, director of the MDHHS. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detailed recommendations to both the Genesee County Health Department and to McLaren Flint hospital as to how they should proceed with these investigations.  Since we do not have confirmation that these recommendations have been implemented or the appropriate steps taken per CDC guidance, we must act swiftly to ensure the health of the public is protected.”

In 2016, Genesee County had a total of 17 confirmed Legionella cases. Of the 17 confirmed Genesee County Legionella cases in 2016, two were associated with McLaren Flint, including one confirmed as recently as November 2016. In the review of these case investigations so far, MDHHS has found immediate concerns with the follow-up that has been implemented in response to CDC recommendations made to GCHD and McLaren Flint in October and November 2016.

“While Legionella cases and healthcare-associated cases in general are increasing nationally per CDC reports, it is always the responsibility of high risk facilities such as hospitals to appropriately follow through on their water safety plans,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with the MDHHS. “The presence of a confirmed hospital-associated case requires MDHHS to take these additional actions to assure McLaren Flint has taken appropriate measures to strengthen its water management plan and protect the health of their patients.”

MDHHS continues to review the 2016 confirmed Legionella cases in Genesee County and will take additional action as necessary to address any issues in the investigation and follow up of those cases.

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