The Maine CDC is investigating four cases of Legionella and trying to determine if they are connected.
All four cases were in the Bangor area and all four patients did end up in the hospital. The state has alerted health care providers and says there could be more cases.Advertisement
Legionella, also known as Legionnaires' disease, is not spread from person to person. Legionella bacteria are found naturally in freshwater environments, such as lakes and streams. Legionella can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made building water systems such as cooling towers used in air conditioning systems, hot tubs, fountains, and large plumbing systems.
Legionnaires' disease, which is a type of pneumonia, may result when individuals breathe in droplets of water that contain the bacteria. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches.
Most healthy people exposed to Legionella do not get sick. Most people who get sick need care in a hospital but make a full recovery. However, about 1 out of 10 people who get Legionnaires' disease will die from the infection.
Legionella cases have been on the rise in the United States since 2000. About 9,000 cases were reported in 2019. Maine has averaged 21.4 cases per year since 2016.
Steps to prevent growth of the bacteria include: