Legionnaires' cases could be linked to CDH, health officials say

WINFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health and the DuPage County Health Department are investigating three cases of Legionnaires' disease in former patients of Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in west suburban Winfield.

One individual was an inpatient, and the second and third individuals had outpatient visits, IDPH officials said in a news release. These patients could have acquired the infection at the hospital, but they also had other possible sources of exposure during the 10 days before they started showing symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends public health officials conduct a full investigation into the source of Legionella in a health care facility after identifying two or more cases possibly associated with the facility within 12 months of each other.

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IDPH is working with DCHD and the hospital to collect information and further investigate these cases, which will include another on-site visit by IDPH to test the facility's water.

Central DuPage Hospital is working with IDPH to strengthen its water management plan and implement multiple control measures, the release said.

The hospital is reaching out to patients and employees who might be affected. IDPH recommended the hospital try to identify other potential cases and ensure appropriate testing.

Legionella bacteria occur naturally in the environment, the release said, and it can cause Legionnaires' disease, a serious lung infection, when inhaled.

The disease is not passed from person to person. Outbreaks are most commonly associated with buildings or structures that have complex water systems like hotels, hospitals, long-term care facilities and cruise ships, health officials said.
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