Flint, Michigan has been dealing with the repercussions of a contaminated water supply for more than two years, which included lead poisoning and legal ramifications being taken against local politicians. After all of that, you’d think the situation would be resolved to avoid any more bad press or, even worse, health risks. You’d be wrong.
Flint is now dealing with the outbreak of a infectious bacterial disease called Shigellosis, which can lead to abdominal pain, dehydration and high fevers. According to CNN, this disease is most commonly spread when people don’t wash their hands often.That’s right. People in Flint are so cautious of their water supply, which they have every right to be, they may be spreading an infectious bacteria because of it.
“People aren’t bathing because they’re scared,” said Jim Henry, Genesee County’s environmental health supervisor. “Some people have mentioned that they’re not going to expose their children to the water again.”
Henry said that people are turning to baby wipes instead of water as a means to try and stay clean. However, this doesn’t come close to what’s needed to keep people safe from all of the bacteria they encounter on a regular basis.
“But baby wipes are not effective, they’re not chlorinated, it doesn’t kill the bacteria and it doesn’t replace handwashing,” Henry said. “People have changed their behavior regarding personal hygiene. They’re scared.”
According to CBS, 84 cases of Shigellosis have been reported in Genesee County in just the month of September. Saginaw County, which borders it, has 47 cases.
The health department plans to start a handwashing campaign this month to let people know the importance of it. Perhaps, efforts would be better spent rebuilding the public’s trust in their own water supply, which is the root cause.