MetroHealth Hospital officials have confirmed three recent cases of legionella occurring in patients who were residents at the Elizabeth Severance Prentiss Center for Skilled Nursing. These patients were transferred to the main hospital for treatment; two have since been released.
MetroHealth immediately implemented precautionary measures, including switching to bottled water, suspending showers for residents, and sterilization of the building. The water supply will be sterilized using a chlorination method followed by installation of a system to insure that the legionella will remain under control.
Legionella is a bacteria that lives in the water supply. People get exposed to it through drinking or showering with this water. It is also transmitted through air conditioning units or other means of aerosolizing water. It is not transmitted from person to person.
Legionella causes a mild form of infection called Pontiac fever which includes headache, fever, and muscle aches. In the more severe form, patients develop pneumonia with high fever, chills, and cough. Legionella is generally treated with common antibiotics.