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Family convinced son's illness was Legionnaires' disease after emails released

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  • Family convinced son's illness was Legionnaires' disease after emails releasedMore>>

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    New emails released show DEQ suspected link to Legionnaires'

    New emails released show DEQ suspected link to Legionnaires'

    Friday, February 12 2016 11:55 AM EST2016-02-12 16:55:59 GMT

    Internal emails show that high-ranking officials in Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's administration were aware of a surge in Legionnaires' disease potentially linked to Flint's water long before the governor reported the increase to the public. Now Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is defending how his office responded to the email.

    More >

    Internal emails show that high-ranking officials in Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's administration were aware of a surge in Legionnaires' disease potentially linked to Flint's water long before the governor reported the increase to the public. Now Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is defending how his office responded to the email.

    More >
FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

11-year old Konnor Reynolds loves video games, and one day hopes to design them.

"Maybe I'll make Call of Duty," Konnor Reynolds said.

Thinking about the future got put on hold this last summer when Konnor got seriously ill. At the time doctor's thought he had pneumonia, but weren't sure exactly what was going on.

With the news of Legionnaires’ disease possibly being tied to Flint's water, Konnor's parents are now wondering if they've finally found the answer to a mystery that nearly killed him.

"More and more keeps getting exposed every day," said Jay Reynolds.

Jay Reynolds said emails released on Thursday add to what he calls the system's failure.

Government watchdog group Progress Michigan got their hands on emails that show officials were warned of a possible legionella link months before state officials told the public.

On March 10, 2015, Genesee County's Environmental Health Supervisor Jim Henry sent an email to the Department of Environmental Quality, the county, and some local leaders.

He told them the county has experienced a significant increase of Legionnaires’ disease.

The email goes on to say:

"The increase of the illness closely corresponds with the timeframe of the switch to Flint River Water....I want to make sure, in writing that there are no misunderstandings regarding this significant and urgent public health issue."

Three days later, a memo written by Brad Wurfel, the DEQ spokesman at the time went out to his boss, DEQ Director Dan Wyant and to Harvey Hollins, an aide to Gov. Rick Snyder.

Wurfel wrote:

"We think it would be highly unlikely that anything would be found around the plant, where the water was treated, it also flies in the face of the very thing a drinking water system is designed to do."

He suggests agencies should get together to address the issue.

It wasn't until Jan. 13 that Gov. Rick Snyder and other state leaders disclosed the spike in Legionnaires’ disease that killed 10 people and sickened nearly 90 others over a two year span.

"If you have an optimized, chlorination system, legionella should not be an issue," said Dr. Eden Wells.

Wells, the state's top health official said it's possible legionella could have traveled through the pipes, but says it's unlikely.

Konnor's parents aren't buying it.

"In fact I'm more sure now, as more things come out and they're realizing more and more," said Heather Beach, Konnor’s mom.

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