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article imageOp-Ed: Flint residents told Legionnaires disease likely linked to water

By Karen Graham     Jan 14, 2016 in Environment
Flint - Flint residents got more bad news Wednesday, when Governor Rick Snyder told them the number of cases of Legionnaires disease had spiked in the two years the city was using water from the Flint River.
A Flint, Michigan resident might be asking, "what else could possibly go wrong?" Well, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder added a little topping to the lead problem Wednesday when he announced there had been a marked increase in the number of cases of legionnaires disease that could be linked to the area's tainted water, reports the Detroit Free Press.
Of course state officials are holding their cards close to the vest, saying the increase in the cases of legionnaires cannot be directly related to the water switch, at least that's what Nick Lyon, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says. he points out not all of the people who got legionnaires disease were exposed to Flint's water.
But the facts are startling, never the less. there were 87 cases in Genesee County from June 2014 to November 2015 — and 10 of those cases resulted in death, said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, or MDHHS. That is quite a jump from the previous four years where Genesee County saw from six to 13 cases.
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee issued a press release late on Wednesday. He said, "Flint needs more action and less talk from Governor Snyder. It is important to remember that this crisis was created by a state-appointed emergency financial manager, and it is the state's ultimate responsibility to act and make it right. Flint residents are the victims in this crisis, and they deserve a more urgent response equal to the gravity of this crisis."
Governor Snyder is sticking to his advice to Flint's citizens. Keep drinking bottled water, and use filters on home water systems. Oh, and it's OK to bathe or shower in the tainted water. And that seems to be about all he is doing.
While it may be fruitless to continue to point fingers, what has transpired is akin to criminal neglect on the part of state officials, and those responsible for shrugging their responsibilities to the taxpayers should be investigated and taken to account.
Dr. Marc Edwards is a Virginia Tech researcher who studied Flint water and found the high levels of lead. "This is already a tragedy," he said. "It's a crisis of conscience in government. This could potentially just add to it. But they're being very forthcoming about it at this point. There are just so many places where you wish people had done things differently."
In related news, FEMA has approved Gov. Snyder's request for federal assistance, and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Eastern Michigan is investigating the water crisis. Additionally, a class- action lawsuit was filed against Snyder, the state government and the city of Flint, according to CNN.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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