Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at Mount Carmel Grove City, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) was prophetic when it warned that additional cases of Legionnaires’ disease were possible at Mount Carmel Grove City in suburban Columbus: Three new cases were added to the outbreak total, increasing it to 10 at the month-old hospital.

The ODH also announced that one of the original seven patients confirmed with the illness passed away Sunday.

“Currently, we’re working with county and state health officials to identify the source of the bacteria,” read a statement from Dr. Richard Streck, Mount Carmel Health System’s chief clinical operations officer.

“We’ve taken several steps to protect our patients, staff, and visitors, including implementing extensive water restrictions. We are running additional tests on water sources throughout Mount Carmel Grove City, and our entire water supply is undergoing supplemental disinfection. We’re confident that we can safely maintain full services of the hospital.”

Tests show Legionella

Testing determined that Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, was present on the seventh floor and in the emergency room of the $361 million, seven-floor, 200-plus-bed hospital, which opened April 28 in Grove City. The newest hospital in Franklin County is intended to replace the Mount Carmel Health System’s West hospital facility in Franklinton.

Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) confirmed that of the 10 patients diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, six are women and four are men. Ages range between 50 and 90, with an average age of 72. FCPH officials said the exposure date range was from April 27 to May 24.

A 2015 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that “75 percent of (Legionnaires’ disease) acquired in health-care settings could be prevented with better water management.”

Cause for concern

If you were a patient, visitor, or employee of Mount Carmel Grove City during the exposure period and you are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention. If you have questions or would like more information about the issue, please contact Mount Carmel Grove City hospital at (614) 265-8111.

Franklin County woes

The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) listed Ohio – along with California, New York City, New York state, and Pennsylvania – as the areas with the highest number of confirmed Legionnaires’ disease cases in 2015 (that was the most recent year data was released). There were nearly 50,000 confirmed Legionnaires’ cases reported to the NNDSS from 2000 to 2015, according to the CDC.

Franklin County reported the highest number of Legionnaires cases in the state last year at 208, according to ODH statistics. Cuyahoga County had the second-highest number of cases at 148, followed by Montgomery County at 58.

Vague symptoms

Legionnaires’ disease usually develops two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella, and it frequently begins with the following vague symptoms, which are similar to other types of pneumonia as well as influenza (flu):

  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • fever, which can be 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

By the second or third day, symptoms can worsen to include:

  • cough, which can bring up mucus and sometimes blood
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • confusion and other mental changes.

Although Legionnaires’ disease primarily affects the lungs, it occasionally can cause infections in wounds and other parts of the body, including the heart.

High-risk groups

Most people exposed to Legionella do not get sick, but people 50 and older – especially smokers or people with chronic lung conditions (COPD, for instance) – are at a higher risk.

Other people more susceptible to the bacteria include:

  • recipients of organ transplants
  • individuals on specific drug protocols (corticosteroids, to name one)
  • alcoholics.

The list also includes anyone with an immune system that has been weakened by:

  • frequent and recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis or skin infections
  • organ inflammation and infection
  • blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia
  • digestive problems, such as cramping, appetite loss, diarrhea, and nausea
  • delayed growth and development.
Dangerous complications

After Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed, hospitalization is usually necessary. In the most severe cases, complications can include respiratory failure, kidney failure, septic shock, or even death.

According to CDC statistics, about one out of every 10 people (10 percent) infected with Legionnaires’ disease will die due to complications from the illness. For patients sickened with the disease during a stay in a health-care facility, about one out of every four (25 percent) will die.