LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers has reported one new positive Legionella pneumonia case in Lauderdale County.
Local authorities, with the support of the Alabama Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are now investigating 11 confirmed cases and eight suspected cases of Legionella pneumonia.
The ADPH advises that Legionella pneumonia is not spread from person to person. People get the disease when they breathe in a mist or vapor containing the bacteria.
They also advise that when most healthy people are exposed to the germ, they do not become sick. The individuals at higher risk for getting sick are people who are older than 50, are current or former smokers, have chronic lung problems such as COPD, have weak immune systems from cancer, diabetes, or kidney failure, or are on chemotherapy.
According to the APDH, Legionella pneumonia is caused by a germ that occurs naturally in the environment that grows best in warm water. The germ can be found in hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and decorative fountains.
While investigating the cases of Legionella pneumonia, the health department is working with local physicians and hospitals, talking with the patients who had Legionella pneumonia, and checking for any potential environmental sources of the germ. Doctors and hospitals will continue to work very closely with the health department to test any patients who could have Legionella pneumonia.
“We want to continue looking into these cases carefully to be sure that we raise awareness of this illness and recommend any actions to reduce environmental risks,” Dr. Landers said.