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Local News

Health departments investigate two cases of Legionnaire's disease at Plainfield senior home

The Will County Health Department on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Joliet.
The Will County Health Department on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Joliet.

Health officials are investigating two cases of Legionnaire's disease at a senior home in Plainfield.

The Will County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health are investigating the cases, according to a news release. No potential source locations outside of the facility have been identified.

Both agencies are working with Lakewood Nursing Home & Rehab in Plainfield to collect information and further investigate any potential cases.

"Although it is not clear that these environmental risks have come from Lakewood Nursing, as a safety precaution we have implemented our Water Management Program and Environmental Risk Protocol," said Ron Nunziato, CEO of Extended Care, consultants to Lakewood Nursing, in a statement. "We have taken these extreme measures as a safety precaution until this possible threat is ruled out for us. In addition, this facility has been working with the county and state departments for guidance, and a water specialist for any assistance they may provide."

The IDPH has recommended that the home conduct surveillance to identify other potential cases and ensure appropriate testing, management of residents. It's also recommended the facility review its water management plan and take necessary steps to reduce exposure.

Legionnaire's disease cannot be passed from person to person. Legionella bacteria occur naturally in the environment, according to a news release.

Water containing Legionella can cause Legionnaire's disease after being inhaled following aerosolization through cooling towers, showers, hot tubs and decorative fountains.

Outbreaks are most commonly associated with buildings or structures that have complete water systems and substantial plumbing. Most healthy people do not develop Legionnaire's disease after being exposed to Legionella bacteria.

Earlier this month, the Will County Health Department confirmed it and the IDPH were investigating one case of Legionnaire's disease at Meadowbrook Manor, a senior home in Bolingbrook.

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