There’s apparently more fallout from the contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
The New York Times reports that Flint has an outbreak of shigellosis, a bacterial illness that attacks the gastrointestinal system. It’s typically transmitted when people fail to wash their hands.
Health officials in Genesee County, where Flint is located, reported at least 85 cases—the highest incidents statewide—from January through September. Nearby Saginaw County had just 49 cases over the same time period.
Since the water crisis, public health surveys found that a significant number of Flint residents “changed their frequency or methods of bathing,” opting for bottled water instead of city water when available, The Times reported.
Matt Karwowski, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist, explained to The Times that there’s a possible link:
“There is definitely some question about whether changes in hand-washing and hygiene practices may be playing a role. People in Flint have been concerned about the safety of their water supply, and that may be playing a role in their hygiene practices.”
The CDC reports that shigellosis affects approximately 500,000 people nationwide every year.