State officials have confirmed a case of Legionnaires’ disease at Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown.
Legionnaires’ is a bacterial infection that causes pneumonia-like symptoms caused by legionella. The bacteria grows best in warm water and is typically found in cooling towers, hot tubs, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, air conditioning units and decorative fountains. When it becomes airborne it can cause a serious form pneumonia and is particularly dangerous to individuals with underlying lung conditions or compromised immune systems.
The disease cannot be spread person to person, health officials said. It is treated with antibiotics.
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State officials confirmed a female patient at Connecticut Valley Hospital tested positive for Legionnaires’ and is being treated.
A nurse at the facility also exhibited symptoms consistent with the disease and is being treated. The Department of Public Health is awaiting test result to confirm if that person also has Legionnaires’.
Both are responding well to treatment.
DPH officials said the nurse and patient both spent time in Merritt Hall at Connecticut Valley Hospital. While DPH and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services have not yet determined the source of the bacteria, officials said they suspect it was spread through something in the building.
There is no need to evacuate the building, but the room the patient was staying in was emptied for the time being, officials said. Crews will collect water samples for testing throughout the building and then crews will clean and sanitize.
Workers have been informed of the situation and know to look out for symptoms, which include a high fever and respiratory-related symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath.
Health officials said most people who breathe in the bacteria do not exhibit any symptoms. People with underlying lung conditions or immune system disorders are at higher risk.
Connecticut typically sees 80 to 100 cases of Legionnaires' each year and this case is not considered unusual, according to DPH.