Macomb County health officials are investigating seven cases of Legionnaires' disease reported at McLaren Macomb hospital in Mount Clemens, Mich.
Six of the seven cases were reported since the middle of September, according to a Wednesday news release from the Macomb County Health Department, which is handling the investigation alongside the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Health officials are working with the hospital to determine a source of the infection and identify any other patients that might have been infected, the release said. McLaren is cooperating with the ongoing investigation and said it will increase the frequency of water testing in its facility.
McLaren confirmed in a statement that seven cases of the disease have been reported at the hospital since late July.
"Though the investigation is ongoing and a definite source has not been identified, we are responding with an abundance of caution and partnering with the Macomb County Health Department to identify targeted areas in the hospital to implement additional precautions to our water management efforts (installing filters, removing aerators, providing bottled water options)," the statement said.
Macomb County has had 47 cases of the disease reported so far this year, according to the county health department. It had a total of 102 in 2018, nearly double the 56 cases from 2017. There were 34 cases in 2016 and 25 cases in 2015. Statewide, cases of the disease increased by 67 percent in 2018, but mortality rates dropped 5 percent-7 percent because of more effective treatment.
Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria whose symptoms include cough, shortness of breath and fever. The bacteria multiply in fresh water sources such as plumbing systems, cooling towers and hot tubs and can spread in droplets small enough for people to breathe in, the release said.
Those more at risk for the disease are individuals age 50 and older, current or past smokers and those with underlying illnesses such as lung disease, kidney or liver failure, diabetes and immune system disorders.
Those concerned about possible symptoms of pneumonia are encouraged to contact their primary care provider.
"7 cases of Legionnaires' disease reported at McLaren Macomb hospital" was originally published in Crain's Detroit Business.