Legionnaires Disease Confirmed in Lake County
November 17, 2016
NEWS RELEASE CONTACT: Ron H. Graham, (440) 350-2358
November 17, 2016 LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LEGIONNAIRES’ DISEASE CONFIRMED IN LAKE COUNTY, OHIO
The Lake County General Health District (LCGHD) is working with the Ohio Department of Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on a public health investigation involving Legionnaires’ disease in Lake County. Between July 1, 2016 and October 31, 2016, there have been 12 confirmed Legionella cases, including one death.
The timeline for the investigation is as follows:
- August 25, 2016 LCGHD completed a Legionella Environmental Assessment at a business on Lakeland Blvd. in Eastlake, based on the August 2016 reports of an employee being ill with possible Legionella bacteria. No areas of concern were identified during the investigation.
- September 26, 2016 LCGHD was notified by Ohio Department of Health of a second and third case of Legionella disease amongst employees of businesses located on Lakeland Blvd. in Eastlake.
- September 30, 2016 LCGHD completed a Legionella Environmental Assessment at a second business on Lakeland Blvd. in Eastlake, based on August 2016 reports of an employee being ill with confirmed Legionella disease. No areas of concern were identified during the investigation.
- October 4, 2016 LCGHD completed a Legionella Environmental Assessment at Consolidated Precision Products (CPP), 34000 Lakeland Blvd., Eastlake, Ohio 44095, based on the September 26th disease confirmation. During the investigation, several areas of concern were noted. At this visit, LCGHD provided CPP with information on Legionnaires’ disease and the importance of cleaning cooling towers.
- October 11, 2016 LCGHD notified Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of three cases of Legionnaires’ disease amongst employees of businesses located on Lakeland Blvd. in Eastlake.
- October 25, 2016 Representatives of LCGHD and OSHA toured the facilities at CPP and took water samples from the cooling towers.
- November 9, 2016 In accordance with protocols approved by Ohio Department of Health, CPP completed the process of cleaning and sanitizing their cooling towers.
- November 16, 2016 LCGHD received results from CPP’s third-party laboratory samples results confirming the presence of Legionella bacteria in one cooling tower prior to cleaning and sanitizing the cooling towers. Results were also received from samples taken after cleaning and sanitizing, no Legionella bacteria was detected.
CPP has been cooperative in this investigation and has fully complied with all requests. The confirmed Legionella death was not a CPP employee. Test results indicate that any potential risk from this site has been eliminated at this time.
Ron H. Graham, Health Commissioner stated, “It’s important to know that we will never really know the true source of the bacteria, we do know that one cooling towers was positive.” Other possible sources of infection include hot tubs, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and decorative fountains.
Legionnaires’ disease is caused by a bacterium called Legionella. In general, Legionnaires’ disease is not spread from one person to another; however, person-to-person spread may be possible in very rare cases. Most people exposed to the bacteria do not become ill. Legionella bacteria can make people sick when they breathe it in through contaminated mist or vapor (small droplets of water in the air). This can happen when you drink, shower or bathe in contaminated water. About 5,000 new Legionnaires’ disease are reported each year. Lake County’s current infection rate is 3.05 cases per 100,000 residents.
Legionella bacteria grow best in warm water like the kind found in hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and decorative fountains. They do not seem to grow in car or window air conditioners. Legionella is found naturally in fresh water environments, like lakes and streams, but can become a health concern in human-made water systems. Keeping Legionella out of water systems in buildings is key to preventing infection.
Legionnaires’ disease can have symptoms like many other types of pneumonia and can be difficult to diagnose at first. Signs of Legionnaires’ disease include:
- Shortness of breath
- High fever
- Muscle aches
Most healthy people do not get sick from being exposed to Legionella bacteria. Groups at higher risk for infection include.
- People 50 years or older
- Current or former smokers
- People with a chronic lung disease (like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema)
- People with a weak immune system from diseases like cancer, diabetes, or kidney failure
- People who take drugs that suppress (weaken) the immune system (like after a transplant operation or chemotherapy)
These symptoms usually begin two to 14 days after being exposed to the Legionella bacteria. If someone believes that they were exposed to Legionella and have these symptoms, they should consult with their doctor. Legionnaires’ disease requires treatment with antibiotics and may require hospitalization.
For additional information about Legionnaires’ disease, visithttp://www.cdc.gov/legionella/index.html .