FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Frederick County health officials say the number of cases of Legionnaires’ disease is higher than in the last five years, but it’s still relatively low.

Darlene Armacost is the program manager for communicable disease and preparedness at the Frederick County Health Department. She tells The Frederick News-Post that eight cases have been diagnosed this year.

Statewide, 131 cases have been reported so far this year.

Armacost says it’s not clear what caused the increase. The bacterium Legionella grows in water and can be found in community living settings, air-conditioning systems or shower heads. Older people and those with weak immune systems are most at risk.

In the past week, the Howard County Health Department reported the death of an elderly man at an Ellicott City senior home.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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