By NewsDesk @bactiman63
The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is investigating a cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases in Union County. The Department is aware of 14 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, including one death, among individuals who live in or spend time in the county.
The cases were reported to the Department between February 3 and February 26, 2021. The Department is working with the local health departments in Union County to investigate this cluster. The individual who died was a male resident of Union County in his late 60s.
“This is a continuing investigation. The risk to anyone who lives in Union County is very small,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Out of an abundance of caution, the Department recommends that individuals who live in Union County who become ill with pneumonia-like/respiratory symptoms, such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, and headache visit their healthcare provider.”
The risk of Legionnaires’ disease among residents or recent visitors to Union County is low. Most healthy people exposed to Legionella do not develop Legionnaires’ disease. People over the age of 50, especially those who smoke cigarettes, or those with certain medical conditions, including weakened immune systems, chronic lung disease or other chronic health conditions, are at increased risk for Legionnaires’ disease.
As part of the continuing investigation, the Department is conducting epidemiologic and environmental investigations to identify possible sources of exposures to the bacteria, conducting environmental sampling for Legionella, and recommending environmental remediation strategies to prevent further transmission of Legionella. Some potential sources have been identified and remediation has begun at those sites, but other sources may be identified as part of the ongoing investigation.
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