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UPDATE: Patient treated for Legionnaires' dies of pneumonia

Posted at 10:21 AM, Dec 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-28 10:21:02-05

HASTINGS, Mich. — Health officials say one of the two people treated for Legionnaires' disease at Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital in Hastings has died of pneumonia.

Barry County health officials mentioned the death during a Thursday news conference when talking about the conditions of two patients that prompted water tests.

Hospital officials say the 92-year-old man's case was "very complex" and it's too difficult to tell if he died from Legionnaires' disease.

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department says it's unclear if the Legionella found in the hospital's water supply is connected to the two recent cases of Legionnaires' disease.

Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital says so far there are no confirmed cases of patients contracting Legionnaires' disease while staying there.

Legionella, bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease, has been found in the water supply at a hospital in Hastings.

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department discovered a second case of Legionnaires' disease in patients at Spectrum Health Pennock, according to a news release.

The hospital says it is taking precautions to protect its patients from the bacteria, even though it isn't clear whether the water supply directly caused the Legionnaires' in these cases.

The hospital said it is providing alternative water sources, using water filters, and testing more patients for the disease.

Legionnaires' disease is a lung infection that can occur when people breathe in water droplets with Legionella in them.

The hospital sent the health department on Wednesday positive water samples taken on Dec. 18 at various locations around the hospital, according to the release.

The health department is partnering with the hospital, monitoring the water supply and patients.

Spectrum Health released a statement Thursday afternoon:

"The safety and wellbeing of patients, visitors and staff is our top priority at Spectrum Health.

We received a lab report on Dec. 26 that water samples at Spectrum Health Pennock in Hastings tested positive for Legionella bacteria. At this time, there has not been a confirmed case of a patient contracting Legionnaires’ disease in the hospital. Generally, exposure to Legionnaires’ disease occurs when people breathe in small droplets of water that contain the bacterium. We are implementing our action plan and taking all necessary steps to resolve this situation, such as water filtration systems. We are working collaboratively with the local and state health departments and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines."