Michigan investigates Legionnaires' case possibly linked to McLaren Flint

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is investigating a Legionnaires' disease case that may be connected to a patient's stay at McLaren Flint (Mich.) Hospital, according to Crain's Detroit Business.

Health officials are examining the case of a female patient who developed Legionnaires' disease at the beginning of the month. She spent her "exposure period" at McLaren Flint Hospital, where she was an inpatient. It is unclear what brought her to the hospital, but she spent nine days there before she started showing symptoms of Legionnaires', hospital officials said in a statement obtained by Becker's Hospital Review.

"We cannot eliminate the possibility that the patient contracted the illness while at our facility. We are conducting an exhaustive internal investigation and continue to fully cooperate with our regulators," hospital officials said.

In April, state health officials said in a letter to the hospital that the hospital may not be effectively testing for Legionnaires' disease in its water supply. State officials requested a current version of its water management plan, among other information.

The state accused McLaren Flint of being the source of a 2014-2015 Legionnaires' outbreak that sickened 91 people, but the hospital strongly denies the allegation.

Michigan has also been investigating a number of Legionnaires' disease cases reported in 2018 and 2019 involving patients with exposure histories at McLaren Flint. There were 26 Legionnaires' cases in Genesee County in 2018 and eight this year.

While hospital officials have reported two cases of Legionnaires' among patients treated at the facility, this current case is the only one in which the hospital said it believes the patient might have contracted the illness at the hospital.

"The overwhelming majority of cases in Genesee County involve patients with absolutely no connection to our facility," the hospital said. "McLaren Flint will continue to follow stringent protocols for the testing and treatment of our water."

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