Another case of Legionnaires’ disease has been reported at St. John’s Lutheran Community on Fountain Lake in Albert Lea, MN, bringing the total number of cases reported there since 2018 to seven, according to the Albert Lea Tribune.
In 2018, five cases were reported at the senior living community and in April 2019 another case of Legionnaires’ disease at St. John’s Fountain Lake was reported.
Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia that is transmitted when water vapor contaminated with Legionella bacteria is inhaled. Legionella bacteria occur in nature but grow best in water systems of large buildings. Because the risk of Legionella overgrowth in the plumbing systems of apartment buildings, the hospitals, and nursing homes is well-known, the facilities should have water management plans in place to prevent outbreaks.
St John’s offers a combination of senior living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing services in two Albert Lea communities – Fountain Lake Community and Luther Place Community. After the 2018 illnesses were reported at the Fountain Lake Community, the facility treated its water system and no new cases were reported until April 2019 when a resident at The Woodlands, the skilled nursing facility at the Fountain Lake Community was diagnosed.
After that case, St. John’s Lutheran performed a chlorine water treatment, put water restrictions in place and hired a consultant. The water restrictions include filtered shower heads that are changed every month and bottle water for drinking. St. John’s also hired a Legionnaires’ management consultant and has been performing water tests every two weeks. The consultant recommended the installation of a treatment system at the water mains. Those were installed were installed in mid-September. CEO Scot Spates told the paper that he also contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to see if they would be willing to provide guidance.
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