BATAVIA – Two more cases of Legionnaires' disease have been confirmed in Batavia, in addition to the 12 confirmed cases at Covenant Living at the Holmstad, according to a news release from the State of Illinois.
The Kane County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are investigating the community-based cases, and continue to work with the senior living community to find the cause of the outbreak. As of Sept. 14, there are 14 cases of the bacteria-related illness in Batavia.
The news release states that IDPH has taken samples of potential sources from the Covenant campus, as well as from potential sources in a one-mile radius in the area. IDPH has recommended steps that can be taken in the suspected sources to stop the bacteria from further spreading.
IDPH recommends that individuals with new respiratory symptoms seek immediate care, and is urging physicians to test suspected pneumonia cases for Legionnaires'.
“As the epidemiological and environmental investigation of this Legionnaires’ disease cluster continues, it is important to release this information to ensure that so nearby residents are aware and seek treatment if they become symptomatic,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike in the news release. “Legionnaires’ disease usually begins with a high fever (102 degrees F to 105 degrees F), chills, muscle aches, cough and shortness of breath, and symptoms usually develop up to two weeks after exposure.”
According to IDPH, Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection (pneumonia) that people can get by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionella bacteria. It is not transmitted person-to-person.
Outbreaks are most commonly associated with buildings or structures that have complex water systems, like hotels, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and cruise ships. The bacterium can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made water systems, like hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and decorative fountains.
Most healthy people do not get Legionnaires’ disease after being exposed to Legionella bacteria, according to the release. People at increased risk of Legionnaire’s disease are those 50 years of age or older, or those who have certain risk factors, such as being a current or former smoker, having a chronic disease or having a weakened immune system.
In 2018, Illinois reported 510 cases of Legionnaires’ disease statewide with 285 confirmed to date in 2019.