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Published on Sep 15, 2011 by Edgar Snyder

Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak Linked to Local Retirement Homes

Legionnaires' disease outbreak

Ten people have been sickened with Legionnaires' disease at two Turtle Creek retirement homes.

The Allegheny County Health Department is looking at the domestic water supply that provides water to LGAR Health & Rehabilitation Center and Hamilton Hills Personal Care Home, which may have been contaminated with the Legionella bacteria.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anywhere from 8,000 to 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaires' disease in the U.S. every year. Up to 30 percent die from the disease, which causes pneumonia-like symptoms. The elderly are especially at risk for serious medical complications and death. Two- to three-dozen cases are reported annually in Allegheny County.

The Legionnella bacteria are commonly found in warm water and grow best in hot water tanks, hot tubs, etc. Patients come in contact with the bacteria when they breathe in mist or vapor that has been contaminated. It is not contagious and is not spread from one person to another. Symptoms include high fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, and headaches – much like many forms of pneumonia, which makes it difficult to diagnose. The disease is more common in the summer and early fall, but cases are possible year-round.

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"10 Cases of Legionnaires' Disease Investigated." Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. September 15, 2011.
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