Legionnaires’ Disease Update: Confirmed Count Now 16 Cases

For immediate release:
August 14, 2002

Contact: Linda Dorey
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON—As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, health officials investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Waterbury area have confirmed one new case of the disease, bringing the total to 16 cases. There have been no deaths and only one person remains hospitalized.

Two of the illnesses, including one in Windsor County and one in Washington County, are being classified as sporadic cases.

“These two individuals did not live or work or spend time in Waterbury,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Jan K. Carney, “so we haven’t been able to connect them to the recent outbreak. The other 14 all have a Waterbury connection.”

Carney said that Vermont typically sees about seven sporadic cases of Legionnaires’ disease each year, but that the number may be higher this year because more testing is being done.

Approximately 85 people who exhibited symptoms consistent with the illness have been tested and found to be negative, she said, and the testing continues.

Seven additional people are reported to have become ill with legionellosis, a milder form of illness caused by the same bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

Legionnaires’ disease is not passed from person to person. People get it by inhaling mists that contain Legionella pneumophila bacteria.

For more information on Legionnaires’ disease, visit the CDC website—www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/legionellosis_g.htm