Legionnaires disease confirmed in Chester, IL

CHESTER, IL (KFVS) - A patient of the Chester Mental Health Facility has been confirmed by the Illinois Department of Human Services to have contracted Legionnaires Disease.

The case was confirmed on Tuesday, February 13.

According to the IDHS, the patient is being treated and is in stable condition.

Legionnaires Disease is a bacterial lung infection similar to pneumonia. The bacteria that causes it lives in warm water but is often spread when it becomes airborne, according to medical experts.

It does not spread from person to person.

Murphysboro doctor, Jeff Ripperda, said surrounding communities shouldn't be very worried about contracting the disease based on the way it spreads.

"It's been known to reside in like air conditioning ducts, in heating and ventilation systems, in hot tubs that aren't properly maintained and fountains that aren't properly maintained," he said, "So if the water gets a little bit warm - and especially if you've got churning water - the Legionnaires Disease will leech out into the air and people will breathe it in. When you hear about Legionnaires Disease, you tend to hear about a bunch of people getting it at once, because usually, it means that it got in the air somewhere."

According to a statement from the Chester Mental Health Facility, the IDHS is working with the Jackson County Health Department, the Randolph County Public Health Department, the Illinois State Health Department, and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to find the source of the bacteria and treat it accordingly.

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