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Legionnaires' Disease Death Toll Rises To 12 In Flint Area

LANSING (WWJ) - Three more cases of Legionnaires disease have been confirmed in the state — including two deaths.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement Monday.

"To date, 91 cases and 12 deaths have been identified in total for 2014 and 2015 in Genesee County," said Eden Wells, M.D., Chief Medical Executive with the MDHHS. "We remain vigilant in identifying any potential case associated with the outbreak."

Of the three additional cases, two of them had not been reported to the public health department, officials said.

State health officials say they still cannot definitely conclude that the increase is related to the water crisis in the city of Flint — although many have assumed it.

Legionella is a type of bacteria commonly found in the environment that grows best in warm water, such as potable water systems (hospitals, large buildings), hot tubs, cooling towers, and decorative fountains. When people are exposed to the bacteria, it can cause legionellosis, a respiratory disease that can infect the lungs and cause pneumonia. The bacteria can also cause a less serious infection called Pontiac fever.

Health official say legionella is not transmitted person to person.

MDHHS says ithas partnered with Wayne State University and continues to work with the Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on enhanced surveillance for Legionnaire's disease which will continue in 2016.

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