FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Alabama Department of Public Health has announced that the number of confirmed cases of Legionella pneumonia has risen to 13 and the number of suspected cases is at ten. One person has died from Legionella pneumonia, according to the ADPH.
The ADPH said that three individuals in a family visited Florence and then returned home. One visitor developed respiratory symptoms and was hospitalized. Tests on that individual confirmed Legionella pneumonia. That patient subsequently died.
Tests on the other two family members are still pending, but one was hospitalized, according to the ADPH.
No health care workers have developed problems from assisting patients with Legionella pneumonia.
According to the ADPH, Legionella bacteria on surfaces does not increase the risk of illness to individuals and it is not transmitted from person to person. People get Legionella pneumonia when the breathe in a mist or vapor containing the bacteria.
Also, most healthy people do not become sick when exposed to the bacteria, that ADPH advised. People at higher risk for illness are those 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.
Legionella pneumonia is caused by a germ that occurs naturally in the environment. The germ grows best in warm water. Some places where the germ can be found include hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, and decorative fountains. An example the ADPH gave was from breathing in droplets sprayed from a hot tub that has not been properly cleaned and disinfected.
All cases have been linked to Florence, Ala.
STAY TUNED TO WHNT NEWS 19 FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION ON THE LEGIONELLA PNEUMONIA OUTBREAK IN FLORENCE.