4 cases of Legionnaires' disease under investigation at Advocate Christ Medical Center: IDPH

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is investigating four cases of Legionnaires' disease linked to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn since 2018.

Three patients and one employee at the hospital have tested positive for the disease, including two people who were patients within the past two months, IDPH said. Their investigation is currently limited to the hospital.

IDPH released a statement regarding their investigation:

"IDPH is working with the hospital to collect information and further investigate these cases, including an on-site visit by IDPH this week to test the facility's water. The hospital is working with IDPH to strengthen its water management plan and implement multiple control measures."

Legionnaires Disease is a serious lung infection that can lead to death. It is primarily spread through contaminated water with the legionella bacteria, which occurs naturally in the environment. The disease can be spread through water vapor from cooling towers, showers, hot tubs and decorative fountains. The disease cannot be passed from person to person.

Legionnaires' disease symptoms include fever, headache, and coughing, which appear anywhere from 2-10 days after exposure.

Catalina Coronado's has been in and out of Advocate Christ Medical Center with her mother for weeks. She said she's upset that the hospital never released any information about the state's investigation.

"It's alarming because of the fact that they don't have any signs anywhere. Nobody is letting you know anywhere inside, not even the people inside that are working there. There are no signs; we didn't know. The fact that they didn't even send out any kind of information out is alarming," Coronado said.

Johnny Perry's 1-year-old daughter had heart surgery at Advocate Christ Medical Center Thursday. He said he's concerned about the hospital's water.

"We don't want any type of infections or things like that to go on," Perry said. "So In the future, definitely I'll be paying attention more, and we'll have to talk about a lot of things before anything that we come back here."

IDPH said they have asked that Advocate Christ Medical Center provide information to patients and visitors they may have been potentially exposed about the bacteria.

Advocate Care Christ Medical Center statement:
"Our top priority is to provide the safest and highest quality care for the patients and communities we serve, and we are working closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health on its review. Our facility is safe for our patients, visitors and team members."

This is the third time in two months that state health officials have investigated possible cases of Legionnaires' Disease at Chicago area hospitals.

For more information about Legionnaires' disease visit the IDPH website and the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention website.
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