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A dramatic increase of Legionnaire's disease in Michigan in 2021

"Detroit Renaissance Center" by James Marvin Phelps is licensed with CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

There’s been a dramatic increase in the number of Legionnaire’s disease infections in Michigan. In the first two weeks of July, the state saw over 100 cases, most of them happening in Metro Detroit.

Over the same period last summer, only 16 cases were reported.

State health department spokesperson Lynn Sutfin says the disease is ever-present in nature.

“Legionella bacteria it's found naturally in freshwater lakes and streams. However, it can also be found in the manmade water systems. So, we're talking your potable water systems, cooling towers, whirlpool spas, and decorative fountains.”

Sutfin says reactivating some of those air conditioning systems and reopening buildings shuttered due to the pandemic could be causing the outbreak.

She says recent heavy rains and hot weather can also add to the easy growth of Legionella bacteria.