2 Legionnaires’ Cases Reported At Mercy Hospital

April 26, 2019 - 8:48 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Public health officials are investigating two cases of Legionnaires’ disease in patients who were possibly exposed to the bacteria while at Mercy Hospital.

The Illinois and Chicago departments of public health were at the hospital Thursday to evaluate the building’s water system for possible Legionella bacteria in order to determine its source, officials said in a statement.

The investigation is limited to the hospital and there is no risk to the public, the state’s public health department said.

The conditions of the two patients were not released.

A spokeswoman for Mercy Hospital said the investigation was ongoing and that the source of the infections has not been determined. The following statement was sent to WBBM:

 "Mercy Hospital and its patients are safe. The hospital has followed guidelines for safe water management (in accordance with the CDC) for the Legionella water management program. We fully support investigations by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Chicago Department of Public Health."

Water samples to test for Legionella bacteria have been collected from the hospital, the officials said. The bacteria are transmitted through drops of water and can cause serious lung infections and possibly death. The bacteria mixes with the air in showers or fountains, and can cause illness when inhaled.

Mercy Hospital is working with the health departments to strengthen its water management practices, officials said. The hospital has begun flushing its water system, and will alter or replace water fixtures and place filters on sinks.

Terry Keshner contributed to this report.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire & Chicago Sun-Times 2019. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)