LEGIONNAIRES’ DISEASE ON THE RISE IN CHICAGO

by J. J. Quincannon, The Chicago Times

July 23, 2021

CHICAGO — This month, the Chicago Department of Public Health reported an increase in Legionnaires’ disease cases in the city.  According to public health officials, 49 cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported in Chicago during the first three weeks of July.  This represents a roughly three-fold increase in cases compared to the same period last year.

In the same period in 2020, 16 instances were reported in the city, while in the same period in 2019, 13 cases were reported.

On July 9, the CDPH issued an advisory to area healthcare providers concerning the surge in cases.  According to health experts, a similar surge of instances has been documented in Michigan.

According to the city, Legionnaires’ disease has a seasonal trend in Chicago, with an increase in cases reported from June to October each year.  Temperature, humidity, and precipitation have all been linked to a rise in Legionnaires’ disease. 

Legionella bacteria can be found in both man-made and natural water systems, such as freshwater lakes and streams.  People can catch the sickness if they breathe in water droplets containing the bacterium, although it is not usually passed from person to person.  Coughing, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches are all symptoms of the sickness.