Flint hospital suspected river had link to Legionnaires'

By ED WHITE, Associated Press
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DETROIT - The head of a Flint hospital where Legionella bacteria was discovered says the Flint River was suspected as the source of the contaminant that causes Legionnaires' disease.

Don Kooy says McLaren hospital spent more than $300,000 on a water treatment system and turned to bottled water.

The state says at least 87 Legionnaires' cases, including nine deaths, were confirmed throughout Genesee County during a 17-month period — a major spike. But officials are unsure about a firm link to the Flint River.

Legionnaires' is a pneumonia caused by bacteria. People can get sick if they inhale mist or vapor from contaminated water systems, hot tubs and cooling systems.

Kooy says two cases may have been linked to exposure to bacteria in the hospital, but both patients were successfully treated.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.