Health officials investigating reported cases of Legionnaires' disease at McLaren Macomb Hospital


MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Health officials are investigating possible cases of Legionnaires' disease at McLaren Macomb Hospital.

Officials said seven cases of possible health care-associated Legionnaires' disease have been reported since late July. Six of those seven cases have been reported since the middle of September.

A source hasn't been identified, according to officials. The hospital is cooperating with the investigation, and officials are working with the hospital to determine if other patients may have been infected.

The Macomb County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are involved in the investigation.

What is Legionnaires' disease?

Legionnaires' disease is an infection caused by Legionella bacteria. 

Officials said it's a severe infection that includes symptoms of fever and cough consistent with pneumonia. The bacteria are naturally occurring in fresh water, and the organisms can multiply in man-made water systems.

After the bacteria grows, water containing it can spread in droplets small enough for people to breathe in. People who are 50 or older are at higher risk for the disease, and so are those with a history of smoking, underlying illness or chronic lung disease. Other people who are at high risk are those who have kidney or liver failure, diabetes, systemic malignancies or immune system disorders.

Patients with pneumonia should be tested for LD if they have any of the following histories:

  • Have failed outpatient antibiotic treatment for community-acquired pneumonia
  • Are immunocompromised
  • Are admitted to the intensive care unit
  • Traveled within 10 days prior to symptom onset
  • Were recently hospitalized
  • Developed pneumonia 48 hours or more after hospital admission

If you have concerns about your own health contact your primary care provider. Click here to read more about LD from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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