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Health, Science and Environment

Legionellosis cases prevalent this summer

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Legionellosis cases are on the rise in Michigan this summer.

Legionellosis is an umbrella term for Legionnaires disease and the milder Pontiac fever. Both are respiratory illnesses.

Though confirmed cases are scattered across the state, most are in southeast Michigan and Genesee County. The increase isn’t unusual during summer and early fall: the bacteria grows in warm, stagnant water.

 

Lynn Sutfin is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

 

“Legional bacteria can be found in freshwater lakes, streams, and obviously these man-made water systems including whirlpool spas and decorative fountains. They offer a good environment for this bacterial growth.”

 

The elderly, current or former smokers, and those with weakened immune systems are at particular risk for the disease.