Minnesota: Legionnaires’ disease cases reported in Duluth


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The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reports two laboratory-confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease with incidence in October 2022 and December 2022 associated with the Woodland Garden apartments in Duluth.

Legionella pneumophila / CDC

Two cases of Legionella in a shared apartment building are concerning because outbreaks in this setting are relatively rare. The disease carries high morbidity or mortality rates, and this place is an elderly-only apartment building, which adds to the concern because advanced age is a major risk factor for Legionnaires’ disease.

Because Legionnaires’ disease can mimic many other respiratory diseases, MDH encourages testing in patients who may have contact with this site.

legionella The bacteria are found naturally in freshwater environments, such as lakes and streams. legionella It can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in man-made building water systems such as cooling towers used in air conditioning systems, hot tubs, fountains, and large plumbing systems. Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia, may result when individuals inhale droplets of water that contain the bacteria. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headache.

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Most healthy people are exposed to legionella don’t get sick Those most at risk of developing the disease are people 50 years of age or older; current or former smokers; people with chronic lung disease, a weakened immune system, or cancer; and people with underlying diseases such as diabetes, kidney failure, or liver failure.

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