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Legionnaires case confirmed in Fairfield County

LANCASTER – A case of Legionnaires disease has been reported and confirmed in Fairfield County, according to the Fairfield Department of Health.

 

Legionnaires case confirmed in Fairfield County

  • By DEBRA TOBIN Logan Daily News Editor dtobin@logandaily.com
      

LANCASTER – A case of Legionnaires disease has been reported and confirmed in Fairfield County, according to the Fairfield Department of Health.

Larry D. Hanna, Administrator of the Fairfield Department of Health, said there were four cases reported in 2015 in Fairfield County, and one thus far in 2016.

According to Kelly Taulbee, Director of Nursing at the Hocking County Health Department, there have been no confirmed or reported cases of Legionnaires in Hocking County.

“There were some a few years back,” she said. “But that was when there was an outbreak in southern Ohio area. There’s been nothing lately.”

Legionnaires disease is the more severe form of the Legionellosis infection that is caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila. At worst, Legionnaires disease can cause severe pneumonia and respiratory failure. It usually occurs two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria, but can occur up to 16 days later.

Symptoms of the disease include cough, fever, chills, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headaches and diarrhea. Some may experience pain in the chest or muscles, nausea or vomiting, as well as mental confusion. However, most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics, but some may require hospitalization.

The Legionnaire bacteria is found normally in water and grows best in warm water such as in hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and parts of the air-conditioning systems of large buildings.

“Most people that are healthy do not get infected with Legionella bacteria,” Hanna stated. “Usually people over 50 with lung diseases, smokers or weakened immune systems are at higher risk for contracting the illness. Legionella cannot spread from person-to-person. However, people are exposed to Legionella when they inhale the bacteria in a mist or vapor.”

Legionnaires disease obtained its name in 1976 after an outbreak of pneumonia occurred among people attending a convention of the American Legion in Philadelphia. The bacterium causing the disease was later named Legionella pneumophila.


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