ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM-TV) – The Chemung County Health Department has reported an additional legionella case as it continues to investigate a “legionella Cluster” in the county.
The health department issued the following letter to 18 News;
September 27, 2019
Legionella cases are reported sporadically throughout the year. The Chemung County Health Department and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) continue to investigate a cluster of Legionellosis cases in the county. Another case of Legionellosis has been confirmed, the twelfth case in this cluster. Health Department staff and NYSDOH staff will conduct a new round of environmental sampling starting Monday of next week.
All ill patients are recovering. The Heath Department continues to work with the patients and NYSDOH on this investigation.
It is important to know the following about Legionellosis;
· Legionellosis is caused by infection with Legionella bacteria. Multiple possible sources are being investigated such as cooling towers, water tanks, large plumbing systems and fountains. Most of the time, results are negative for Legionella bacteria.
· Legionella is typically transmitted by breathing in tiny water droplets present in the air contaminated with the bacteria, not by drinking the water nor by being in contact with someone who is ill with Legionella. Public water systems are not commonly found to be sources of Legionella outbreaks.
· Most healthy individuals do not become infected with Legionella bacteria when exposed. People at higher risk of getting sick are those with a history of chronic disease, smoking, chronic lung disease, cancer or weakened immune systems.
· There is no need for the public to modify their activities in light of this increase in cases. However, persons with respiratory illness should contact their primary care physician or seek health care.
If you have any question regarding Legionella, please call the Health Department at (607) 737-2028.
The number of cases of Legionnaires’ disease tied to the North Carolina Mountain State fair has risen to 25, with one death, according to the state division of public health.
The cause of the outbreak is still being investigated, but many of those sickened went to the fair in Fletcher between Sept. 6 and 15, CNN reported.
Health authorities are looking at airborne droplets from water rides as a possible source of the outbreak, Kelly Haight Connor, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, told CNN.
Legionnaires’ disease is a lung infection contracted when people breathe in the Legionella bacteria through a mist or by accidentally getting water into their lungs that contains the bacteria.
The disease is serious but can be treated with antibiotics, the department said. About 1 in 10 people who get sick from Legionnaires’ disease die, a recent government report found.
Legionella bacteria are found naturally in the environment but can become a health concern when they “spread in human-made water systems like hot water tanks, cooling towers of air conditioning systems, decorative fountains and hot tubs or spas that are not properly maintained,” the North Carolina health department said. At least one person died of Legionnaires’ disease during a recent outbreak linked to an Atlanta hotel.
About 7,500 US cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2017, but that’s likely an underestimate because the illness is underdiagnosed, according to the CDC. The reported rate of people who get Legionnaires’ disease has risen by 550% since 2000.
View a Legionellosis Fact Sheet at: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/legionellosis/fact_sheet.htm