One dead, 12 infected in Ohio Legionnaires' outbreak

Brian Zimmerman -

The Ohio Department of Health, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Lake County General Health District are collaborating on an investigation into an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the county. From July 1 to Oct. 31, 12 people were infected with Legionella bacteria, resulting in one death.

Investigators established a potential link between the outbreak and cooling towers at Consolidated Precision Products in Eastlake, Ohio. CPP manufactures products for aerospace, defense and industrial gas turbine markets.

"It's important to know that we will never really know the true source of the bacteria. We do know that one cooling towers was positive," said Ron H. Graham, the county health commissioner. CPP has fully cooperated in the investigation.

Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria. It is not spread by person-to-person contact or by drinking water, but can be contracted by inhaling mist from infected water sources such as plumbing systems and cooling towers.

This fall, a Legionnaires' outbreak in Hopkins, Minn., that killed one person and sickened more than 20 was linked to contaminated cooling towers at Citrus Systems, a beverage manufacturer.

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