By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Officials with the Kane County (IL) health department received reports of four cases of Legionnaires’ disease. Four residents at Covenant Living at the Holmstad in Batavia have been confirmed to have Legionnaires’ disease.

Legionella bacteria

“Public health officials are testing for Legionella bacteria and continue to investigate to identify
potential sources and additional individuals who may have been exposed during this period,” said Kane County Health Department Executive Director Barbara Jeffers. “Covenant Living is working closely with public health officials.”

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Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection (pneumonia) that people can get by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionella bacteria. Outbreaks are most commonly associated with buildings or structures that have complex water systems, like hotels, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and cruise ships. The bacterium can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made water systems, like hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, and decorative fountains.

Most healthy people do not get Legionnaires’ disease after being exposed to Legionella bacteria. People at increased risk of Legionnaire’s disease are those 50 years of age or older, or those who have certain risk factors, such as being a current or former smoker, having a chronic disease, or having a weakened immune system.

In 2018, Illinois reported 512 cases of Legionnaires’ disease statewide with 251 confirmed to date in 2019.