In a follow-up on the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Plattsburgh, NY, Clinton County health officials have confirmed a fifth case of the bacterial infection this past week in a patient who has been hospitalized.

Legionella pneumophila bacteria/CDC
Legionella pneumophila bacteria/CDC

The Clinton County Health Department is continuing to collect samples from a variety of locations in an effort to identify a source. While the number of cases is small, all pneumonia can be serious. Residents who experience symptoms of pneumonia should seek medical guidance.

The Press Republican reports all 5 people who developed Legionnaire’s disease live at an apartment complex in the city’s West End, and everyone at that site has been notified.

Legionella is a bacteria that lives in water and moist soil but rarely causes illness. It becomes a health problem when small droplets of water that contain the bacteria get into the air and people breathe them in. People with risk factors that make them more susceptible are more likely to be affected. Pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria is also known as Legionnaires’ disease. This illness can NOT be passed from person to person and is NOT caused by drinking water.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common sources of infection include water used for showering (potable water), cooling towers þarts of large air conditioning systems), decorative fountains, and hot tubs.

Clinton County Health Department is working with the New York State Department of Health to actively investigate possible sources of the Legionellabactena. Additional water samples have been taken from locations in and around the area where the cases were found. The samples have been sent to the NYS Wadsworth Lab for testing. More samples will be taken as the investigation continues.