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Cases of Legionnaires' Disease increase in Genesee County

Posted: 12:03 PM, Sep 13, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-13 18:13:59Z

Incidents of Legionnaires' Disease have increased in Genesee County, according to the county's Health Department. 

So far this year, there have been 20 cases reported in Genesee County.

While the disease can occur any time of the year, residents are encouraged to be more cautious during warm weather season such as summer and early fall. 

Legionnaires' is caused by Legionella bacteria and infects the respiratory system system. The bacteria is typically found in rivers, lakes and man-made water supplies like hot water tanks, humidifiers, showers and hot tubs. 

Symptoms include: coughing, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, headaches, diarrhea and sometimes mental changes. 

People age 50 and older, current or former smokers and those with chronic lung disease are at higher risk for the disease.

According to the health department, filtering water does not remove Legionella bacteria. It can be contracted when a person accidentally swallows water into the lungs or breathes in mist containing the bacteria. 

The bacteria is not spread from one person to another.

The Center for Disease Control encourages facilities to adopt a water management plan to help prevent the disease. The toolkit can be found here