Legionnaires’ Disease Update: Nine Cases Now Confirmed

For immediate release:
August 7, 2002

Contact: Linda Dorey
Vermont Department of Health

BURLINGTON—Two additional cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been identified by the Vermont Department of Health, making a total of nine confirmed cases.

“We are continuing our investigation to identify cases and determine whether there is a connection among them,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Jan K. Carney.

“Because there can be up to 10 days between when a person is exposed and when symptoms appear and because we are actively looking for cases, we expect that additional cases may be confirmed into next week,” Carney said.

The Health Department is continuing to request that patients with clinical symptoms be evaluated by their physician to determine whether they may have the disease.

Most people who are exposed to Legionella pneumophila, the bacterium that causes the disease, do not get sick or may develop a very mild illness. The illness most often affects middle-aged and older persons, particularly those who smoke cigarettes or have chronic lung disease or other chronic health conditions.

“Several public health measures have been put in place. However, it is still important for people who are experiencing these symptoms – fever, chills, severe muscle aches, cough, difficulty breathing – to contact their physician, particularly if they live or work in the Waterbury area,” said Carney.

Early treatment can prevent the most severe consequences of the disease, Carney said.

For more information on Legionnaires’ disease, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website—www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/legionellosis_g.htm