Michigan Sees Increase in Legionella-Related Illnesses

July 10, 2018
While nationally the water-borne illnesses have been trending upward, Michigan has seen a nearly 30% increase in legionella from last year

New data released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) found a nearly 30% increase in number of people who contracted legionellosis, including Legionnaires' disease and Pontiac fever, compared to the summer of 2017, as reported by the Detroit Free Press.

The new data reports 139 confirmed cases from Jan. 1 to July 6 throughout 33 Michigan counties, as compared to 107 cases in the same period of 2017. Furthermore, the 2018 data is nearly double the 2016 data, which found 79 cases of legionella-related illness during the same period statewide. The state notes that this increase is not exclusive to Michigan.

“The incidence of Legionnaires' disease is increasing both nationally and in Michigan in a similar trend line,” said MDHHS Spokeswoman Lynn Suftin. “However, the incidence of disease in Michigan remains consistently higher than the national average.”

Wayne County has been hit the hardest in Michigan with 40 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease this year. In June, Wayne State University was hit by an outbreak of the water-borne disease and has been working to treat their cooling towers while continuing to test water quality.