Local hospitals have precautions in place to stop a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak

Three people in Wisconsin are dead after an outbreak of a water-borne illness.

A Legionnaires’ disease outbreak linked to UW Hospital’s water system in Madison has infected 14 people, and 3 of those people died.

Legionnaires’ is not spread person-to-person, but instead through mist, like from an air-conditioner. The disease needs to be breathed in by someone who’s not completely healthy, and local hospitals and the state already take precautions.

“Legionella like to grow in stagnant water, so it’s kind of figuring out how we can manipulate our environment in such a way to keep patients safe while they are within our facilities or a nursing home facility,” said Gundersen health System Infection Preventionist Megan Meller.

“We are following all of those standards and expectations to mitigate and eliminate the potential growth of bacteria in our water systems in the hospitals,” said Mayo Clinic Health System Southwest Wisconsin Facilities Director Wade Rudolph.

UW-Health is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to both determine why this outbreak happened and prevent it from spreading even more.

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