Legionella-Related Cases Being Investigated at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage
Becker’s Hospital Review is reporting that three individual cases of Legionnaires’ disease are being investigated at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage in Winfield, Illinois. According to the report, one individual was an inpatient at Central DuPage, while the other two had outpatient visits.
In Illinois, state and local health departments typically take the lead in investigating possible Legionella cases but may request help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) when necessary, such as during an outbreak. In 2018, state health departments reported nearly 10,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease, a rate which has grown by nearly nine times since 2000.
The local health department in Winfield says these patients could have been exposed while at the hospital. The hospital has since flushed its plumbing system and is expected to implement control measures to remove any Legionella from the water.
What is Legionnaires’ Disease?
Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by a bacterium which thrives in warm water. A person can be exposed to Legionella when it is inhaled but becoming infected is dependent on several factors. In otherwise healthy patients, the disease will likely not develop or can be battled quickly with antibiotics when diagnosed and treated promptly. However, it can be a very serious disease, particularly in patients with underlying health problems or when undetected. High-risk factors for the bacteria developing into Legionnaires’ disease include being over the age of 50, being immunocompromised or otherwise unhealthy, and having been a smoker or a current smoker.
CDC Quick Facts on Legionnaires’ Disease:
- Legionellacan cause Legionnaires’ disease, Pontiac fever, and, more rarely, extrapulmonary infections, collectively known as legionellosis.
- About one in 10 people who gets sick from Legionnaires’ disease will die.
- People can get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in small droplets of water in the air that contain Legionella.
- In general, people do not spread Legionnaires’ disease to other people. However, this may be possible under rare circumstances.
- Legionellaoccurs naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. It can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made building water systems.
About 80% of all cases of Legionnaires’ are contracted at a long-term care facility such as a skilled nursing home. Hospitals are only responsible for about 18% of all cases, according to the CDC.
Hospital Patients Should Be Protected Against Legionnaires’ Disease
If someone you love has fallen ill or died from Legionnaires’ Disease or another bacterium related outbreak while a patient at a hospital or as a guest or resident of any other type of care facility, it shouldn’t have happened. The Illinois medical negligence and personal injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti can help determine if you have cause to pursue legal action. You can request a free and confidential meeting with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer by calling 877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872.
Also read: Dangerous Infections From Hospital Catheters