Fatal outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Carol Stream under investigation

  • Authorities are investigating three cases of Legionnaires' disease, two of them fatal, at the Covenant Living of Windsor Park retirement home.

    Authorities are investigating three cases of Legionnaires' disease, two of them fatal, at the Covenant Living of Windsor Park retirement home. Daily Herald File Photo

 
 
Updated 1/18/2020 8:55 PM

State and local authorities are investigating three cases of Legionnaires' disease -- two of them fatal -- at a Covenant Living retirement home in Carol Stream.

"Two residents of Windsor Park have died from a combination of Legionnaires' disease and other underlying conditions," DuPage County Health Department spokesman Don Bolger said Saturday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The names of the Covenant Living at Windsor Park residents, ages and when they died are considered "protected health information" and could not be released, officials said.

Legionnaires' disease struck at another local Covenant Living complex in 2019. Thirteen cases were confirmed at Covenant Living at the Holmstad in Batavia, the Kane County Health Department reported in October. Several Holmstad residents were hospitalized as a result.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and DuPage experts are collecting information from Windsor Park and will test its water.

Covenant Living issued a statement saying Windsor Park has "a resident residing in skilled nursing who was admitted from the local community and tested positive for the Legionella bacteria. Our prayers are with this individual at this time."

Covenant officials also said that "within the last 12 months, we had two other cases, one in May of 2019 and another in November of 2019. We believe each is unique and unrelated given the timeframe. Our top priority is the health, safety and well-being of our residents."

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Windsor Park is "taking action based on its water management plan and implementing multiple control measures" that include flushing the plumbing system, DuPage County officials said.

The company is "following IDPH recommendations to identify other potential cases and to ensure appropriate testing and clinical management," health department officials said.

Covenant officials have informed employees and residents.

Legionnaires' disease is a serious lung infection or pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. People can become ill by breathing in mist or swallowing water containing the bacteria.

The bacteria can be found in cooling towers, showers, fountains and hot tubs. The disease commonly occurs in residential settings with complicated water systems like hotels, cruise ships and hospitals, state experts said.

It is not contagious from person to person and most healthy individuals do not get the disease after exposure.

"Covenant Living, as a matter of policy, regulations and procedures, adheres to a strict water treatment plan specifically utilized to address Legionella. This includes regularly flushing of sinks and showers in health care and performing tests and treating our water sources," company officials said.

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