BATAVIA, Ill. (CBS) — Four new cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been confirmed at a seniors’ community in Batavia.
Two cases were reported this week, one early-onset case was reported in mid-August, and one more case was reported this past Saturday at Covenant Living at the Holmstad in Batavia, according to Kane County Health Department Executive Director Barbara Jeffers.
Since the first reports, Covenant Living has kept residents and employees informed and has collaborated with the state and county on proactive measures to deal with the situation.
“Water testing results are still pending with IDPH to determine if there is a source of legionella bacteria on the Holmstad campus. However, because the safety of our residents, guests, and employees is our top priority, we have proactively and aggressively moved forward with several of the measures that could potentially be advised in the event of a positive result,” Amanda Gosnell, Covenant Living at the Holmstad executive director, said in a news release. “We continue to collaborate closely with water management experts and state and the Kane County health departments and are following all recommendations; under their advisement, we continue to welcome visitors and maintain regular operations.”
Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection that people contract by inhaling in small drops of water containing the Legionella bacteria. It is not transmitted contagiously between people.
Outbreaks are most often associated with buildings that have complex water systems, including hotels, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and cruise ships, the Illinois Department of Public Health said.
Most healthy people do not get sick after being exposed to Legionella bacteria, the IDPH emphasized. People are at increased risk if they are 50 or older or have other risk factors, such as being a current or former smoker, having a chronic disease, or having a weakened immune system.
A total of 251 cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been confirmed in Illinois in 2019.