Legionnaires’ Disease Cases Increase at Wisconsin Hospital

December 10, 2018

Preventing Legionnaires’ disease is crucial responsibility for building managers at various facilities, including hospitals and long-term care centers. One patient has died and eight more became ill following a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, WI, WKOW News reports.

When the outbreak was first reported last month, four patients had contracted Legionnaires’ disease. Hospital officials believe the legionella bacteria developed in the hospital’s water system when the facility implemented a plan to save water by slowing down the flow at low-demand times. Bacteria growth increases and hazardous biofilms form when water is stagnant.

So far 11 cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported at the hospital. Hospital officials had expected new cases, as symptoms can present up to 14 days after exposure. Any additional cases will likely show up by December 12.

Among the affected patients, six have been discharged or treated at outpatient facilities and four remain hospitalized in stable condition. One patient, who had been hospitalized for other serious conditions, died last week.

Water testing has shown a reduction in the legionella bacterial in the hospital’s water system after officials implemented a hyperchlorination process to flush all hot water lines in the building.