Mysterious outbreak Legionnaires’ disease infecting three patients and a hospital worker traced back to suburban Illinois hospital
- A cluster of Legionnaires’ disease has been traced back to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois
- Three patients – two in the past two months- and one staff member were diagnosed with the infection
- Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria
- Most recover with antibiotics, but those with weakened immune systems can form neurological complications that can be fatal
A mysterious outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease has been linked to a suburban Illinois hospital.
All four cases have been traced back to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said on Thursday.
Legionnaires’ is a severe form of pneumonia caused by inhaling water droplets containing legionella bacteria and, when left untreated, can cause fatal neurological complications.
Health officials say that three of those infected are former patients and one is a hospital worker.
Two patients at Advocate Christ Medical Center (pictured) in Oak Lawn, Illinois, were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, a severe from of pneumonia, within the past two months
According to the IDPH, the cases were first reported in 2018. Two of the cases were reported from patients at the hospital within the last two months.
Health officials will be visiting this hospital this week to collect water samples to test for bacteria.
Unlike other illnesses, which are transmitted through person-to-person contact, sufferers fall sick by inhaling small droplets of water with legionalla bacteria.
The bacteria can multiply in places such as hot tubs, water tanks and large plumbing systems.
Symptoms develop between two and 10 days after inhaling legionella bacteria. The disease typically begins with a headache, chills, high fever, and muscle pain.
On the second or third day, symptoms progress to coughing, chest pain, trouble breathing, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Around 10,000 and 18,000 Americans are infected each year, with 300 of those being in Illinois.
Most people recover with antibiotics, but those with weakened immune systems or who have chronic lung diseases can form neurological complications that can be fatal.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 10 people with the disease die.
The IDPH has opened an investigation, which is currently limited to Advocate Christ Medical Center.
However, this is not the first time that the agency has investigated hospital for Legionnaires’ disease.
An investigation was opened in March at the University of Chicago Medical Center after two patients contracted the infection, reported NBC Chicago.
Then, in April, the IDPH investigated after two patients were infected with Legionnaires’ at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago.