2 Cases of Legionnaires' Disease at Salem Apartment Complex, Management Says

Management for Pequot Highlands Apartments in Salem, Massachusetts, says two of its residents have confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease

Two residents of a Massachusetts apartment complex have been diagnosed with Legionnaires disease, apartment management tells NBC10 Boston/necn.

Management for Pequot Highlands Apartments says they were notified on Thursday, Oct. 3 by the Salem Board of Health that two of their residents had confirmed cases of the disease, a serious form of pneumonia that is spread from aerosolized water that contain Legionella bacteria.

All residents were made aware of the situation on Saturday, Oct. 5, management says, and two independent environmental testing companies, RPF Environmental and The Metro Group, Inc., were hired and conducted tests on Monday, Oct. 7.

Those test results came back positive in the hot water system in various locations of the building, management reports.

Resident meetings were held Thursday and Friday, Oct. 17-18, and management says they notified residents of the findings and the immediate steps ownership would be taking.

Treatment of the water system began Saturday morning and typically takes 24 to 30 hours to be effective. During that time, showers and sinks were not available to anyone in the building, prompting management to strongly recommend that residents vacate the building during the treatment process.

Apartment management says all showerheads and faucet aerators are being replaced, as well, and that testing will be conducted at regular intervals in the short term to insure everything has been resolved.

“We’re pleased we were able to move quickly to resolve this situation," management said in an email Sunday night. "We appreciate the patience shown by the residents and the support we received from local and state health officials.”

Management says they are working closely with local and state health officials and will follow the health board's recommendations.

People with Legionnaires' disease often have flu-like symptoms that can include fever, muscle aches, headache, loss of appetite and dry cough. Anyone can get the disease but it is more common among the elderly and those with impaired immune systems or underlying diseases.

The bacteria is not spread one person to another person. People get Legionnaires' when they inhale a mist or vapor that has been contaminated with the bacteria, which is normally occurring and can be found in many places in the environment, especially in water.

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