October 25, 2014

More cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Milwaukee

Health officials in Milwaukee County have recorded more cases of Legionnaires’ disease, bringing the total instances of the illness in the county up to 27 since the beginning of June. Of those cases, 19 have been reported in the City of Milwaukee.

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia, caused by inhaling the legionella bacterium from some type of infected mist or water vapor. It cannot be spread from person to person and it is treatable. Individuals with existing respiratory problems and other underlying medical conditions are most susceptible to the bacteria.

The City of Milwaukee Health Department is still trying to determine the source of the infections and Commissioner of Health Bevan Baker says environmental samples have been taken from a variety of potential community sources. All of those have returned negative results so far and different strains of the bacteria have shown up in patients. Possible sources of the infection can include large cooling towers, hot water tanks, decorative fountains, and hot tubs.