Michigan health chief back in court in Legionnaires' case

Nov 1, 2017

Testimony is resuming in a criminal case against Michigan's health director, who is accused of keeping the public in the dark about Legionnaires' disease during the Flint water disaster.

Nick Lyon is charged with involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office. A judge must decide whether there is enough evidence to send him to trial. The case picks up again Wednesday.

Governor Rick Snyder
Office of Gov. Rick Snyder / michigan.gov

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is sticking by his congressional testimony about when he learned about a fatal outbreak of Legionnaires' disease during the Flint water crisis, despite a senior aide's new disclosure that he informed the governor weeks earlier.

Spokesman Ari Adler says Snyder was "under oath" and "stands by his testimony."

Nearly 100 Legionnaires' cases, including 12 deaths, were reported in the Flint area when the city was using the Flint River for water in 2014-15.

Another Michigan Health official charged with manslaughter

Oct 9, 2017

A special prosecutor says he'll add a charge of involuntary manslaughter against Michigan's chief medical executive in a criminal investigation of the Flint water crisis.

Dr. Eden Wells was in court Monday for a key hearing on other charges. But the hearing was postponed after the announcement by Todd Flood.

Wells' lawyer couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Five other people have been charged with involuntary manslaughter tied to an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the Flint area in 2014-15.

A former Michigan health official has been sentenced to a year's probation and must apologize to Flint-area residents for failing to tell the public about an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease during the city's water crisis. Former state health department official Corrine Miller pleaded no contest to a charge of willful neglect of duty in connection to the Flint water crisis. Two felony charges were dropped as part of a plea deal. The willful neglect of duty charge is a misdemeanor.

Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 / pixabay.com

Health officials say another case of Legionnaires' disease has been reported in Genesee County.

It's the 10th reported this year in that county, which includes Flint.

The Genesee County Health Department said in a statement Thursday that it's investigating the case along with other previously reported cases. It didn't include details about the case.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also is involved in the investigation.

At least 91 Legionnaires' cases were detected in 2014 and 2015, including 12 deaths.

Flint water pipes
FlintWaterStudy.org | Min Tang, Kelsey Pieper

In the year since Flint's man-made drinking water crisis exploded and was exposed primarily as a failure of state government, Michigan has allocated $234 million toward the public health emergency that exposed children to lead and has been linked to a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak.

The state has been much slower, however, in enacting policy reforms to address problems uncovered.

It's likely that no major action in the Republican-led Legislature will occur until 2017, angering Democrats who are pushing for changes to the emergency manager law and lead testing.

Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 / pixabay.com

The state of Michigan says another case of Legionnaires' disease has been reported in Genesee County.

It's the eighth this year in that county.

The Michigan health department says the latest case - which indicates the patient is a male resident of Genesee County - was reported on an electronic database by Hurley Medical Center in Flint.

In a statement Friday, the state says it has no other details because a court order restricts it from fully investigating Legionnaires' cases in Genesee County.

flint water comparison
Democracy Now / democracynow.org

A former Michigan state official acknowledges in a plea deal that she was aware of dozens of cases of Legionnaires' disease in the Flint area two years ago but didn't report it to the general public.

Michigan's former state epidemiologist, Corrine Miller, entered a no-contest plea Wednesday to a misdemeanor count of neglect of duty in connection to the outbreak and the investigation into lead-contaminated water in Flint.

Alex Proimos via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0

Michigan health officials have found a 10th fatal case of Legionnaires' disease in the Flint area amid an outbreak some experts have linked to the city's water crisis.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Friday the death last year is now among 88 cases of the respiratory disease detected between June 2014 and November 2015.

No definitive link has been made, but some researchers believe the source of the Legionella bacteria is the Flint River, which the city began using as its water source in April 2014.