Mount Carmel Grove City, located just outside Columbus, is presently the epicenter of a Legionnaires' disease outbreak. The Franklin County Public Health reports ten confirmed cases, one of which has resulted in death. The hospital is working in conjunction with Franklin County Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify the source of the outbreak.
Legionnaires' disease is a form of pneumonia cause by Legionella bacteria. It is characterized by cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches. Diagnosis is confirmed by urine and sputum tests, and the infection is treated with antibiotics. While healthy people typically have a good prognosis, approximately 10% of those infected will die as a result of the infection.
According to the CDC, Legionella outbreaks are associated with "large or complex water systems" like cooling towers. If these systems aren't maintained properly, Legionella may grow. People may then become infected if they breathe in air containing droplets of contaminated water. Alternately, people may become infected if they aspirate contaminated water into the lungs when they drink.
The outbreak at Mount Carmel Grove City isn't the only hospital-based Legionella outbreak to happen in Ohio. From 2008 through 2018, there have been nine confirmed Legionella outbreaks in Ohio hospitals and healthcare facilities (accounting for 70 hospitalizations and 12 deaths). Within the same time period, there were ten confirmed Legionella outbreaks in Ohio long-term facilities (accounting for 32 hospitalizations and 5 deaths).
If you or a family member has questions about Legionnaire's disease, please contact Beausay & Nichols Law Firm. You might also want to check out the following resources: