Researchers from Henry Ford Health System’s Global Health Initiative and Division of Infectious Disease have found a significant connection between City of Detroit government-imposed water shutoffs and water-related illnesses experienced by a sample of Henry Ford Hospital patients: skin and soft tissue infections and water borne bacterial infections.
The researchers analyzed a data set of 37,441 cases where patients were diagnosed with water-borne illness between January 1, 2015 and February 12, 2016 at Henry Ford Hospital. This data set was compared with a list of Detroit addresses, anonymized to the block level, whose water had been shut off by the City of Detroit for nonpayment of water bills during that same time period.
Even when taking into account the effects of socioeconomic status and poverty, the study showed a significant relationship between water-related illnesses and shutoffs:
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