UPDATE: Bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease was found in part of UW Medical Center’s water supply. Two people receiving care at the hospital have died; Legionnaires may have been a contributing factor.
One patient who was hospitalized with the Legionella infection died Thursday evening. This type of pneumonia is one contributing factor in the patient’s death, according to Seattle & King County public health officials.
Two patients were recently diagnosed with a serious type of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease in Seattle and King County, according to public health staff.
Legionnaires is caused by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionella, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The University of Washington Medical Center notified King County Public Health officials and suggest the first patient was exposed to Legionnaires in the community or during a hospital visit. The second patient was exposed to the disease at UWMC.
Both patients were hospitalized and received treatment for illness, according to public health staff.
Studies show that people who are usually at risk of getting sick due to Legionnaires are people 50 years old, are current or former smokers, diagnosed with chronic lung disease, have immune weaken system diseases and may take medications that suppress the immune system.
Public health officials say that there is no evidence suggesting that the public or other patients hospitalized are at risk of disease.
King County Public Health department will continue its investigation by working with UWMC to determine if others were infected, and if so, will look to find the source of infection.
UWMC continues to test patients for possible pneumonia cases, according to public health staff.
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Learn more on Legionella from the CDC.
Photos by Center for Disease Control and Prevention