Less than a year after a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that sickened five people at St. John’s Lutheran Community in Albert Lea, MN, another resident has tested positive for the severe form of pneumonia. Seniors are at heightened risk for these infections which occur when water vapor that is contaminated with Legionella bacteria is inhaled.
The St John’s Lutheran Community offers some 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 illnesses, last summer, which were reported at the Fountain Lake Community between June and August, the facility performed a water treatment and no new cases were reported. Until now.
The new case occurred at The Woodlands, the skilled nursing facility at the Fountain Lake Community. Water restrictions were put in place after the diagnosis earlier this month. CEO Scot Spates told KIMT 3 News this week that St. John’s Lutheran hired a consultant who has recommended the installation of a treatment system at the water mains.
Nationwide, Legionnaires’ disease cases have been on the rise since 2000. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that cases of legionellosis have more than quintupled since the turn of the century. And they aren’t quite sure why.
But one thing they do know is that Legionnaire’s disease is preventable.
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