Michigan has recently experienced a significant year-over-year increase in reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease, and the source is unclear.
In the first two weeks of July, 107 cases have been reported across 25 counties, a 569% increase from the 16 cases reported during the same time period in 2020, according to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services. None of the 107 reported cases have led to any deaths.
A majority of the cases were reported in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, the three most populous counties in the state, with 68 (64%) of the state’s Legionnaires’ cases. The remainder of the cases is spread across 22 other counties.
“To date, no common sources of infection have been identified,” MDHHS wrote in a statement, noting that although legionnaires cases are most common in summer and early fall, the increase is “higher than expected for Michigan for this time of year.”
“Recent weather trends including rain, flooding and warmer weather may be playing a role in the rise of reported legionnaires cases this summer,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health, said in the statement. “We want everyone to be aware of Legionnaire’s disease, especially if they may be at higher risk for illness and we ask that healthcare providers remain vigilant, and test and treat appropriately.”
Joseph Eisenberg, professor and chair of the University of Michigan’s Department of Epidemiology, told The Detroit News the increase is likely due to “a change in environment,” adding: “…it is spread out. It’s not like it’s an obvious source.”
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