A cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases have been reported in a Chicago suburb believed to be linked to a church in the area, health officials revealed Friday.
The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Stickney Public Health District said they are investigating a cluster of cases in Burbank, Illinois.
Cases have so far been reported between June and August, health officials said, with at least one case geographically linked to St. Albert’s Grand Church in Burbank. Three other cases were epidemiologically linked, the department said.
An investigation is ongoing around the cases, and IDPH said inspectors who took samples from the church detected the presence of legionella in the building’s cooling tower. The church is cooperating and notifying parishioners, health officials said, and the cooling tower has been closed until Legionella is no longer detected.
“As the epidemiological and environmental investigation into this group of Legionnaires’ diseases continues, it is important to release this information to ensure that anyone with risk factors who experiences symptoms is aware and seeks evaluation and treatment. treatment,” said IDPH director Dr Sameer Vohra. statement.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Legionnaires’ disease is “a serious type of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria.”
“People can get sick when they breathe in small water droplets or accidentally swallow water containing legionella into their lungs,” the CDC says. However, the disease is not transmitted from person to person.
Vohra said the disease usually begins with a high fever, chills, muscle aches, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms often develop within two weeks of exposure.
According to health officials, most healthy people do not contract the disease after being exposed to the bacteria, but those at higher risk include people aged 50 or over, or those with certain risk factors. risk such as smokers, people with chronic illnesses or those with weakened immune systems.
IDPH said it has also advised hospitals and providers in the region to watch for additional cases and monitor patients who show symptoms associated with the disease.
In 2021, Illinois reported 522 cases of Legionnaires’ disease. So far this year, IDPH has recorded 227 cases.