Legionnaires’ Disease Found Near Bangor, CDC Still Investigating
There have been four cases of Legionnaires' disease confirmed in the Bangor area. The Maine CDC announced this information yesterday and are still actively investigating where the exposure came from and if the cases are all related.
Hospitalization was reported as a result of all four cases.
The Legionella bacteria is the cause of Legionnaires' disease, a type of pneumonia. The bacteria occurs naturally in freshwater locations. When the bacteria is inhaled, this can cause sickness and pneumonia.
Symptoms to look out for when considering a Legionella infection are cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches -- much like the flu and similar to COVID-19. Younger, healthier people are less likely to get sick when exposed to the bacteria then older people and those with chronic conditions.
Recommendations from the CDC
Here's what the Maine CDC recommends to reduce the growth of bacteria in your home or work place:
Flushing water heaters every year. This helps reduce the risk of bacteria growth. Electric water heaters are more likely than gas water heaters to have bacteria. Flushing should be done with caution by a qualified plumber.
Removing and cleaning shower heads. This can be done by soaking shower heads in a mixture of 1 tablespoon household bleach to 1 gallon of water for about two hours.
Regularly cleaning and disinfecting humidifiers. Always unplug the humidifier first. Clean the inside using a mixture such as 1 tablespoon household bleach to 1 gallon of water, and dry. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.
Regularly cleaning CPAP machines and nebulizers. Use distilled water only and clean regularly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.
For more on Legionellosis/ Legionella/ Legionnaires' disease, check out the Maine CDC webpage specifically about the infection/disease.