Health officials investigate two cases of legionnaires' disease among residents of a retirement home in southern Minnesota
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the cases were reported at the St. Johns Fountain Lake site in Albert Lea. St. John's provides assisted living, memory care, skilled care and independent living services.
The first resident's symptoms began in early June, and the second resident's symptoms were reported to the Ministry of Health on Thursday. Both residents were hospitalized
Legionnaire's disease is caused by the Legionella bacteria and spreads by inhaling the bacteria when aerosolized in contaminated water. A type of bacterial pneumonia, the disease can cause coughing, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headaches and fever. It is not spread from person to person.
The Ministry of Health said it and other officials are working to identify the source of the cases. Further steps are being taken to protect the residents of the facility as well as their workers and visitors. Albert Leas municipal water supply is out of the question, the Department of Health said
The Department said that in recent years, cases of legionnaire's disease have increased in Minnesota and nationally. Most cases are diagnosed in the summer and early fall and are not associated with a specific outbreak.
People over 50, smokers or those with certain medical conditions, including weakened immune systems, diabetes, chronic lung disease or other chronic health conditions, are at increased risk.