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Recent Outbreak Takes the Life of Ohio Man
At least 3 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Lake County, Ohio, may be associated with contaminated cooling towers at Consolidated Precision Products, located on Lakeland Boulevard in Eastlake, Ohio. Tragically, one of the three people sickened in the outbreak, a 54-year-old man from Cuyahoga County, died in July.
The illnesses happened in July, August and September of this year. Prior to onset of illness, one person was working at Consolidated Precision Products and the other two worked at neighboring businesses, Pressrite Corporation and Advanced Controls.
Legionnaires’ Disease Investigation Leads to Cooling Tower
Lake County Health District was notified of the cases in early October. One cooling tower at Consolidated Precision Products tested positive for Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia. People are sickened when they breathe in water mist containing Legionella. When a cooling tower is contaminated, this deadly water mist can travel a mile and infect people who breathe in the mist.
Lake County Health Commissioner Ron Graham told Fox8:
“In this case, it was very clearly a concern over the water cooling towers located at Consolidated Precision Products. I want to be clear that we cannot confirm that any of these cases actually came from that facility.”
Eight other people in Lake County were also diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. Health officials have said there is no evidence that these cases are connected to the other three.
How Can Legionella Bacteria Grow in a Cooling Tower?
Cooling towers use a fan to move air through a recirculated water system that can be the ideal temperature for Legionnella (Legionnaires’ disease bacteria) growth, 68°-122°F. The fan, combined with the water movement, creates a significant amount of water mist that is introduced into the air surrounding the tower. The contaminated water mist can travel a mile or more.
Good maintenance is necessary to control Legionella growth.
“One dead in Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Lake County.” WKYC News. http://www.wkyc.com/news/local/lake-county/one-dead-in-legionnaires-disease-outbreak-in-lake-county/352935219
Freeman, Kevin. “1 person dead, 10 others ill after outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Lake County.” Fox8. http://fox8.com/2016/11/16/1-person-dead-10-others-ill-after-outbreak-of-legionnaires-disease-in-lake-county/