Health officials in Vermilion County, Ill. are investigating three Legionnaires’ disease cases that occurred over the past year linked to a local hotel. The Vermilion County Health Department posted on their website: Three persons developed Legionnaires’ disease after visiting a Vermilion County hotel between October 2015 and September 2016.
More details were acquired by Food Poisoning Bulletin, which notes: Three people developed the illness after visiting the Red Roof Inn at 389 Lynch Drive in Danville between October 2015 and September 2016. Two of those sickened are from Michigan, and the other patient lives in northern Illinois.
Legionellosis is a bacterial disease of the lungs caused by Legionella pneumophila. The disease can range from a mild respiratory illness to severe pneumonia and death. The most common form of legionellosis is known as “Legionnaires’ disease,” named after an outbreak in 1976 when many people who attended an American Legion conference in Philadelphia became ill.
Most people contract the disease by inhaling mist or vapor from a water source contaminated with the bacteria. The disease is not contracted by drinking contaminated water, and person-to-person spread of legionellosis does not occur.
People of any age may get Legionnaires’ disease, but the disease most often affects persons older than 50. The disease is rare in people younger than 20 years of age. People at high-risk of acquiring the disease include current and former smokers, persons with chronic lung disease like emphysema or COPD, or those with compromised immunity (like patients who receive corticosteroids or have had an organ transplant). People with underlying illnesses, such as cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, or AIDS are also at higher risk.
The Illinois Department of Public Health says approximately 300 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are reported each year in Illinois.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that between 8,000 and 18,000 people are hospitalized with legionellosis in the United States each year.