Two residents at an assisted living center in Maple Grove, MN, have been confirmed with Legionnaires’ disease, causing an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDOH), according to news reports. Both are residents of SilverCreek on Main.
The first person began showing symptoms Aug. 22, while the second started showing Sept. 12. Both were hospitalized and are recovering.
SilverCreek, which has 220 residents, is working in cooperation with the MDOH to identify the source of the Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease. No definitive source has been located, but signs point to the building’s water system.
“We are in the process of a full environmental assessment,” a statement released by SilverCreek officials said. “Early indications are that the issue is isolated to a small area of the property.”
The HVAC system has been cleaned and the water system is being remediated, according to a MDOH spokesperson.
Residents have been advised to not take showers and to seek alternative sources of water. SilverCreek officials have closed the pool and are providing bottled water for drinking and oral care.
The 200-unit SilverCreek on Main facility opened in 2015 and includes two floors of memory care, two floors of assisted care, and an independent living wing. It is located at 8200 Main Street North.
Comes one year after outbreak in Hopkins, MN
The outbreak is the second in suburban Minneapolis in a year. Last September, 23 illnesses and one death occurred in Hopkins. It took the MDOH several weeks to identify the source of the outbreak. It eventually was traced back to a cooling tower at Citrus Systems juice manufacturing plant in downtown Hopkins. Testing found an exact genetic match between the Legionella bacteria samples from the tower and four of those infected.
Should SilverCreek residents be concerned?
After Legionella grow and multiply in a building’s water system, the contaminated water spreads in droplets small enough to breathe in. When that bacteria reaches the lungs, they can cause people to become ill with Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionella become a health concern when they grow and spread in human-made environments, such as:
- Showers and faucets
- Hot tubs that aren’t drained after each use
- Decorative fountains and water features
- Hot water tanks and heaters
- Large plumbing systems
- Cooling towers (air-conditioning units for large buildings)
Residents or visitors to the SilverCreek on Main facility who are exhibiting pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms should seek immediate medical attention from their primary health-care provider.
Individuals at increased risk
Most healthy people exposed to Legionella do not get sick. However, individuals who meet any of the following criteria are at higher risk:
- People 50 or older
- Current or former smokers
- People with undisclosed illnesses, such as diabetes, kidney failure or liver failure
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with chronic lung disease
- People with cancer
Legionnaires’ symptoms are numerous
Legionnaires’ disease is very similar to other types of pneumonia (lung infection), and symptoms may exhibit in the following forms:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches