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Spectrum Health Hospital in Hastings, Michigan, has been found to have Legionella bacteria in its water, according to hospital officials.  Legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaire’s Disease, a dangerous lung inflammation that can be fatal.  Two patients at the hospital have been diagnosed with Legionnaire’s Disease, prompting the testing.  One patient, a 92-year-old man, has died.

It is not immediately clear whether the patients contracted the disease at the hospital, or if the disease ultimately caused the death of the 92-year-old man.

Legionnaire’s Disease is caused by inhaling droplets of water containing Legionella bacteria.  Symptoms may not appear for up to 10 days, often making it difficult to pinpoint the source of the infection.  Although Legionnaire’s Disease is dangerous, particularly for the elderly and those with compromised lungs or immune systems, it can be treated with antibiotics.

Outbreaks of Legionnaire’s Disease seem to occur every few months.  The disease infamously emerged in Michigan in the wake of the Flint water crisis, possibly as a result of chemical interactions between corrosive Flint River water and Flint’s water pipes.

Drinking water safety is a hot topic in Michigan right now, with numerous widely reported contamination problems across the state.

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