Cases of Legionnaires’ Disease In Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut Nearly Double

The total number of Legionnaires’ cases in Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut has nearly doubled from last year, reports Reuters. Many states in New England had dramatic increases as well, but surprisingly states in other parts of the country did not. For example, California confirmed only slightly more cases than last year.

New York and Pennsylvania also saw large jumps in Legionnaires’ cases.

Legionnaires’ disease is a very serious form of pneumonia that results in long term health effects or a flu-like illness called Pontiac Fever. Most individuals become infected by inhaling Legionella bacteria in the air; it is not spread from person to person. The bacteria spread through mist or vapor from contaminated water in hot tubs, cooling towers, faucets, showerheads, and other water systems. A current or previous smoking habit, chronic lung disease, age (usually 50 years or older), and the use of certain rheumatoid arthritis and chemotherapy drugs can increase the risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease.

Epidemiologists have not yet given a reason for the increase, but they are considering various explanations, including increased awareness of Legionnaires’ causing more testing, climate changes, more air conditioner use, and a larger number of seniors who are more vulnerable than younger people.

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Legionnaire’s Cases Increase In Md. County

FREDERICK, Md. — Frederick County health officials said the number of cases of Legionnaire’s disease is higher than in the last five years, but it’s still relatively low.

Darlene Armacost, the program manager for communicable disease and preparedness at the Frederick County Health Department, said eight cases have been diagnosed this year.

Statewide, 131 cases have been reported so far this year.

Armacost said it’s not clear what caused the increase.

The bacterium Legionella grows in water and can be found in community living settings, air-conditioning systems or shower heads. Older people and those with weak immune systems are most at risk.

In the past week, the Howard County Health Department reported the death of an elderly man at an Ellicott City senior home.

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Elderly Man Dies of Legionnaires’ Disease in Howard County

The Howard County Health Department is reporting the death of an elderly male resident of the Lighthouse Senior Living facility in Ellicott City, Maryland due to Legionnaires’ disease. The death occurred in the past week.

According to Howard County Health Officer Dr. Peter Beilenson, there do not appear to be any other cases among residents at this time.

The Howard County Health Department is working in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and Lighthouse Senior Living to assure the safety of other residents at the facility and ensure that appropriate remediation takes place.

Lighthouse Senior Living is an assisted living community with two Maryland locations – Ellicott City in Howard County and Middle River in Baltimore County.

For more information about Legionnaires’ Disease visit the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) at

Original article on Fox Baltimore

More Legionnaires’ Cases Diagnosed

NEW PORT RICHEY – Pasco County public health authorities are trying to determine what may have caused three cases of Legionnaires’ disease.

Two cases were diagnosed on the same street in Port Richey.

“We just heard of a third case that’s in a different location four miles away,” said Dr. David Johnson, director of the Pasco County Health Department.

The three cases follow last week’s outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in Plant City. Three people were diagnosed to the bacterial infection in the Meadows Countrywood neighborhood last week.

One of the patients died. Initially the Hillsborough County Health Department suspected a community hot tub may have been the source of the illness. That has since been ruled out.

No known cause has been identified.

“Sometimes the cause jumps right out at you,” Pasco’s Dr. Johnson said. “But often the cause is never found,” he added.

There is no common connection between Pasco County’s three cases, except from location. Two of the patients live on the same street. The third lives nearby.

The cause could be as simple as a dirty shower head. People who live near one of the Port Richey patients say he was rushed to a hospital in an ambulance.

Johnson suggests not waiting that long for anyone who feels ill.

“If you have symptoms, if you’re developing a fever and cough you need to get in and see your doctor,” he said.

Legionnaires’ Disease comes from bacteria usually found in water. The bacteria that causes it thrives in warm and wet environments, and people contract the disease by breathing in contaminated water vapor.

“It is not contracted person to person,” explained FOX 13’s Dr. Joette Giovinco. “However, if several people were exposed to the same source, then many of those people may get sick, depending on their health.”

More information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control:

Original Article on My Fox Tampa Bay