Only link among 14 infected people was exposure to drinking water in a small section of Grand Rapids
A cluster of 14 cases of Legionnaires' disease in Grand Rapids, Minn., has been traced to the municipal water supply, a state health investigation has found.
City authorities said Monday that they plan to flush and disinfect the water system to reduce risks of the disease, which is caused by inhalation of water droplets containing the Legionella bacteria. The disease is fatal in as many as 1 in 10 cases. While no one has died in this outbreak, 11 people were hospitalized.
Individuals were infected in multiple homes and buildings in a small area of Grand Rapids, including two buildings where testing found Legionella bacteria in water, said Trisha Robinson, epidemiologist supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Health's waterborne diseases unit. The bacterial strains from both buildings were highly related to each other and to lab samples taken from the patients, including one patient who was in the area but hadn't been in either building, she added.