Officials with the Barry-Eaton District Health Department have confirmed that the Legionella bacteria has been detected in the water supply of the Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital in Hastings.
At least two cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been identified in patients at the hospital; however, it is unknown if they are directly connected to the issue with the hospital’s water supply.
Local media reports one person has died. “It’s not possible to determine if Legionella and pneumonia was his cause of death. He was treated appropriately in the hospital and discharged to sub-acute rehab where he later died from chronic aspiration pneumonia,” a health official said.
Health department officials say that Legionnaire’s Disease is a type of pneumonia or lung infection. It has about a 10% fatality rate and most people infected need to be hospitalized and treated with antibiotics. It cannot be spread from person to person, but is spread by breathing in water droplets that contain the Legionella bacteria.
The Legionella bacteria is most often found in manmade water systems, like those found in hospitals. The hospital is using bottled water for now and will be adding filters to their water system. More tests will be done in coming days, until the water is clear.