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Three Legionnaires’ disease cases reported at two Chicago nursing homes

Public health officials said Friday they are investigating three cases of Legionnaires’ disease at two North Side nursing homes.

Two residents at Balmoral Nursing Home, 2055 W. Balmoral, and one resident at Admiral at the Lake, 929 W. Foster, have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, according to an Illinois Public Health Department news release.

“Recently, we became aware one of our residents while hospitalized was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease and is currently receiving appropriate medical care at the local hospital,” said Nadia Geigler, CEO of The Admiral at the Lake in a statement. “We have spoken with the resident’s family, and we are working closely with local authorities and partners.”

State public health officials are trying to determine whether the residents contracted the disease at the nursing home.

In response to its two cases, Balmoral Nursing Home has implemented water restrictions and placed water filters in its facility, according state health officials. Admiral at the Lake is “taking precautionary steps as recommended by the Chicago Department of Public Health [and] Illinois Department of Public Health,” Geigler said.

“The facility is conducting water treatment and testing,” Meir Stern, an administrator at Balmoral, said in a statement. “The facility’s water has consistently tested negative for Legionella. The most recent test was December 2019. The facility is complying with recommendations from CDPH and IDPH. No other individuals have shown signs or symptoms in the facility.”

Legionnaires’ disease can be deadly. Thirteen people have died since 2015 after contracting the disease at the Illinois Veterans home in Quincy. In Chicago, three people who stayed at the JW Marriott Chicago, 151 W. Adams, died from the disease after a 2012 outbreak at the Loop hotel.

Legionnaires’ Disease is a serious lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria. Those who contract the disease often experience symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, fever and muscle aches and headaches.

Balmoral Nursing Home

While the bacteria are often found in natural waterways, the disease can be particularly dangerous when found in large buildings with complex water systems such as hotels, hospitals and long-term care facilities, according to state public health officials.

Most commonly, people contract the disease by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionella bacteria. Often showerheads, sink faucets, hot tubs and decorative fountains can be a source of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, health officials said.

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