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2 Cases Of Legionnaires Confirmed At Senior Community In Baltimore

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An alert from Baltimore health officials after two cases of Legionnaires’ Disease are confirmed at a senior housing apartment building.

Monique Griego has more on what’s being done.

Legionnaires is spread through the inhaling of water droplets contaminated with a certain bacteria, not through coughing or being in contact with a sick person.

A Baltimore City senior community is under extreme water restrictions after two cases of Legionnaires, a dangerous and sometimes deadly form of bacterial pneumonia, are reported at the Apostolic Tower Apartments.

“Severe pneumonia–in all the way from a newborn out through individuals that are 65 and 70 is severe. It’s a severe disease,” said Dr. Mark Clanton, Baltimore City Health Department.

The first case occurred in March and the second just last week. Both residents had to be hospitalized due to severe flu-like symptoms. The bacteria is spread through the inhaling of water droplets contaminated with a certain bacteria. It’s still not clear exactly where the residents picked it up.

“These individuals are actually quite independent,” Clanton said. “They go out and shop for groceries, they engage friends in the community, family in the community. So there is no certainty that in fact it came from this location.”

An outside company has been called in to test the building’s water system. Until that’s complete, residents are not allowed to drink, shower or use tap water to brush their teeth.

Water samples are already being taken at the facility, but health department leaders say it could take up to two weeks for the system to be tested and sterilized. They believe it’s a necessary precaution, considering how the bacteria spreads.

“It tends to be more infectious and cause more of a public health problem when it gets involved with large water systems and air conditioning systems for large buildings, as was the case here,” Clanton said.

One of the residents that became ill remains in the hospital.  The building has 149 units.

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