MDH investigating source of Legionnaires’ disease cluster in Grand Rapids

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says they working to determine the source of Legionnaires’ disease in Grand Rapids following five people contracting it.

MDH says the five adults who got sick between the end of April and mid-July live or spent time in Grand Rapids. All of them were hospitalized. So far, no one has died from this particular outbreak.

The disease is a bacterial pneumonia that people can get from breathing aerosolized water with the bacteria Legionella in it. It cannot be spread from person to person or from drinking water with the bacteria in it, MDH says.

Sources of Legionnaires’ disease have included, but are not limited to, cooling towers, building plumbing services, hot tubs and decorative foundations.

Most people who are exposed to Legionella bacteria do not develop the disease, but if someone does quick care is needed as the illness can be severe.

There is a higher risk of infection and severe illness for people who are current and former smokers, people aged 50 years and older as well as folks with some chronic health conditions or who are immunocompromised.

Most cases of Legionnaires’ disease are sporadic and not a cluster. MDH says that 109 cases were reported in the state last year.