News in Brief

Flint, Michigan, residents now dealing with lead crisis and intestinal disease

The bacterial disease is spreading after residents stopped washing their hands due to the town’s water contamination crisis.

Genesee County, which contains Flint, Michigan, currently has the most cases of shigellosis, an intestinal disease, in the entire state, according to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services data interpreted by CNN. Flint residents have been dealing with contaminated water for more than two years.

The department reported 85 cases in Genesee County so far this year and 49 cases in neighboring Saginaw County.

Shigellosis is highly contagious and can be passed through contact with the bacteria in stool. Infection can occur from improper hand washing. According to CNN, many Flint residents stopped washing their hands after high levels of lead were found in the local water supply. Some residents have even resorted to using baby wipes to clean their hands.

“Baby wipes are not effective. They’re not chlorinated, it doesn’t kill the bacteria and it doesn’t replace handwashing,” Jim Henry, Genesee County’s environmental health supervisor, told CNN.

For more information, read CNN’s whole report.

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