By NewsDesk    @infectiousdiseasenews

Michigan state health officials are reporting an increase in legionellosis cases this year. According to the latest data, there have been 140 confirmed cases of legionellosis reported in 38 counties compared to 135 confirmed cases during the same timeframe in 2018.

Image/Census Bureau

This increase corresponds with national increases in legionellosis. Legionellosis is most common in the summer and early fall when warming, stagnant waters present the best environment for bacterial growth in water systems.

Confirmed cases include 19 in Oakland County, 16 in Wayne County, 13 in Macomb County, 11 in Genesee County and 10 cases each in the City of Detroit and Kent County.

“With warmer days now here, we want everyone to be aware of Legionnaire’s disease, especially if they may be at higher risk for illness,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “We also want all healthcare providers to remain vigilant and test and treat appropriately.”

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria. It can be very serious and even cause death.  Most cases can be successfully treated with antibiotics and healthy people usually recover from the infection.

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The disease is spread through breathing in tiny water droplets containing the Legionella bacteria.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Legionnaires’ disease is not spread from person to person.

Legionella bacteria is most commonly found in warm water, especially stagnant or standing water.  Legionella bacteria can be found naturally in freshwater environments such as lakes and streams; it has also been isolated in manmade water systems such hot tubs, cooling towers, large plumbing systems, and decorative fountains.