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Michigan hospital investigating possible Legionnaires' disease outbreak

Posted at 9:46 AM, Oct 10, 2019

Officials in Michigan are investigating a possible outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at a hospital just north of Detroit.

Officials with the Macomb County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service have identified seven possible cases of Legionnaires' disease at McLaren Macomb Hospital.

Six of the potential cases have been reported since mid-September. The other person was sickened in July.

Officials stress the investigation is ongoing and a source has not been identified. They say they plan to increase water testing in an atrempt to find the source of the bacteria.

"...we are responding with an abundance of caution and partnering with the Macomb County Health Department to identify targeted areas in the hospital to implement additional precautions to our water management efforts (installing filters, removing aerators, providing bottled water options)," the hospital's statement reads, in part.

The hospital is also working to identify any other patients who may have been infected.

"We appreciate the County's partnership on this community health issue," McLaren Hospital CEO Tom Brisse said in a statement. "With nearly 100 cases of Legionella diagnosed across Macomb County over the past 12 months, this represents an opportunity and a need for the healthcare community, the Macomb County Health Department, and other key stakeholders to collaborate in order to minimize the health risk to our community."

According to the health department, Legionnaire's disease is a respiratory infection caused by Legionella bacteria. The bacteria are found in fresh water supplies like cooling towers, hot tubs and other plumbing systems. Symptoms of the disease include fever, cough and radiologic findings consistent with pneumonia.

This story was originally published by WXYZ in Detroit.