Source For Legionnaires’ Cases Narrowed Down: Health Officials


MCHENRY COUNTY, IL – The McHenry County Department of Health has recognized a “potential common source of exposure” for six of the 12 individuals who contracted Legionnaires’ illness whereas visiting, working or dwelling within the space in current weeks. The “source” is inside a 1.5 mile radius of the intersection of Walkup Road and Route 176 in Crystal Lake, health officers mentioned Friday. An precise location, reminiscent of a selected physique of water, the place all those that grew to become sick might have gone has not been pinpointed, Keri Zaleski, McHenry County Department of Health neighborhood data officer, mentioned.

The native health division has labored with the Illinois Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control in current weeks, conducting interviews and environmental assessments to try to decide a attainable connection between the circumstances.

“Many environmental samples have been collected, however, it is often the case that a single source is never found, which is not surprising or unusual considering that Legionella bacteria are pervasive in our natural environment,” mentioned Joe Gugle, Acting Health Department Administrator.

In complete, 12 individuals contracted the illness – 9 of whom had been McHenry County residents, health officers mentioned Friday. Two lived within the state and one lived out of state, Zaleski mentioned.

The individuals who fell ailing vary in age from 46 to 82 years outdated. They lived in Union, Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Huntley and Wonder Lake and had been recognized with sickness between June 7 and July 1. No new case have been reported since July 1, in keeping with Friday’s information launch.

“So far this year, McHenry County has seen an increase of Legionnaires’ disease cases. This year’s increase is also being seen within our region and the state, along with a national increase over the last decade,” mentioned Susan Karras, MCDH Director of Nurses. “Most people exposed to Legionella bacteria will not get sick. However, it can cause severe illness, especially in individuals with risk factors.”

Seen extra continuously in scorching climate, Legionnaires’ illness, which ends up in pneumonia-like signs, is attributable to Legionella micro organism. This an infection poses the best danger for individuals 50 years of age or older and for individuals who have sure danger elements reminiscent of being a present or former smoker, having a persistent illness, or having a weakened immune system, in keeping with a information launch.

Symptoms sometimes start two to 10 days after publicity and might embrace cough, muscle aches, fever, shortness of breath, and headache. Diarrhea and psychological confusion are additionally frequent, in keeping with a information launch.

You can develop into ailing by inhaling a mist, or small droplets of water containing Legionella micro organism. Legionella micro organism are discovered naturally in freshwater environments like lakes and streams. They can develop into a health concern when present in constructing water methods, such because the water used for showering, scorching tubs, cooling towers, ornamental fountains, and scorching water tanks.

Home and automotive air-conditioning items don’t use water to chill the air and usually are not usually believed to be a danger for Legionella progress. Legionella micro organism don’t unfold from person-to-person, besides beneath uncommon circumstances, in keeping with the information launch.

MCDH is working carefully with the IDPH and the CDC to proceed to analyze the native circumstances of Legionnaires’ illness. Results from environmental assessments won’t be accessible for about six weeks.

“It’s kind of like looking for a needle in a haystack,” mentioned Zaleski when referring to health officers seek for a supply of the illness. “There is a lot of different sources for Legionnaires.”

Zaleski mentioned anybody who’s experiencing signs ought to contact their physician.

More information is available on the CDC website.


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