Shigella sonnei Outbreak Investigation During a Municipal Water Crisis-Genesee and Saginaw Counties, Michigan, 2016

R. Paul McClung, Mateusz Karwowski, Caroline Castillo, Jevon McFadden, Sarah Collier, Jim Collins, Marty Soehnlen, Stephen Dietrich, Eija Trees, Grete Wilt, Christina Harrington, Ashley Miller, Elizabeth Adam, Hannah Reses, Jennifer Cope, Katie Fullerton, Vincent Hill, Jonathan Yoder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives. To investigate a shigellosis outbreak in Genesee County, Michigan (including the City of Flint), and Saginaw County, Michigan, in 2016 and address community concerns about the role of the Flint water system.Methods. We met frequently with community members to understand concerns and develop the investigation. We surveyed households affected by the outbreak, analyzed Shigella isolate data, examined the geospatial distribution of cases, and reviewed available water quality data.Results. We surveyed 83 households containing 158 cases; median age was 10 years. Index case-patients from 55 of 83 households (66%) reported contact with a person outside their household who wore diapers or who had diarrhea in the week before becoming ill; results were similar regardless of household drinking water source. Genomic diversity was not consistent with a point source. In Flint, no space-time clustering was identified, and average free chlorine residual values remained above recommended levels throughout the outbreak period.Conclusions. The outbreak was most likely caused by person-to-person contact and not by the Flint water system. Consistent community engagement was essential to the design and implementation of the investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)842-849
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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