ST. PAUL, Minn. – Two cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been diagnosed in an Albert Lea care facility.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Freeborn County Public Health, the city of Albert Lea, and other groups are investigating the two cases found in residents at St. John’s on Fountain Lake, a complex which provides assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing care, and independent living services.
The first case of the disease was reported in early June and the second on Thursday. Both residents have been hospitalized.
Medical officials say Legionnaires’ disease is a type of bacterial pneumonia that can be severe, so prompt diagnosis and antibiotic treatment is important. It can produce fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, and coughing.
MDH is working with St. John’s officials to investigate possible sources of the Legionella bacteria and is recommending protective measures to reduce the change of any further exposure. Legionnaires’ disease is spread by inhaling the fine spray from water sources containing the bacteria. It is not spread from person to person.
MDH says cases of Legionnaires’ disease have increased in Minnesota in recent years, even though most people exposed to the bacteria do not become sick. Those older than 50, smokers, and those with certain medical conditions like diabetes or chronic lung disease are at an increased risk for the disease.
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