Though less common than in the past, microbes that contaminate tap water continue to sicken — and sometimes kill — Americans.

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Photo © iStockphoto.com | Rost-9D

By Lynne Peeples for Ensia | @ensiamedia | @lynnepeeps

Editor’s note: This story is part of a nine-month investigation of drinking water contamination across the U.S. The series is supported by funding from the Park Foundation and Water Foundation. View related stories here.

Before her 73-year-old mom contracted Legionnaires’ disease at a nursing home earlier this year, Monique Barlow knew little about the deadly pneumonia and the waterborne pathogen that causes it.

“Until then, I didn’t give it much thought,” says Barlow. “I didn’t even really know what it was.”

Sheryll Barlow, a resident of Room 325 at Arlington Court Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center in suburban Columbus, Ohio, died in late February. Arlington Court was just one of at least five Columbus-area facilities to report an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which is caused by Legionella bacteria, since May 2019. …



Ensia is a solutions-focused nonprofit media outlet reporting on our changing planet.

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