Health officials investigate possible Legionnaire's outbreak - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Health officials investigate possible Legionella pneumonia outbreak in Florence

Posted: Updated:
The Alabama Department of Public Health is studying an increase in Legionella pneumonia cases in Florence. The Alabama Department of Public Health is studying an increase in Legionella pneumonia cases in Florence.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Meth found in Decatur motel; 3 arrested

    Meth found in Decatur motel; 3 arrested

    Friday, August 22 2014 9:02 PM EDT2014-08-23 01:02:06 GMT
    On Aug 20 The Decatur Police Department's Patrol Devision responded to a 911 call at a local motel. The call was received from an undetermined room.After further investigating, the people in the room were identified as William Alfonso Swopes and Amanada Morrow. Officers soon discovered that Swopes had an active felony warrant in Ohio.Officers confirmed Swopes' warrant and gathered information that James Daniel Sapp Jr. was going to arrive with an amount of methamphetamine.More >>
    On Aug 20 The Decatur Police Department's Patrol Devision responded to a 911 call at a local motel. The call was received from an undetermined room.After further investigating, the people in the room were identified as William Alfonso Swopes and Amanada Morrow. Officers soon discovered that Swopes had an active felony warrant in Ohio.Officers confirmed Swopes' warrant and gathered information that James Daniel Sapp Jr. was going to arrive with an amount of methamphetamine.More >>
  • Huntsville school board member named in civil suit by former employer

    Huntsville school board member named in civil suit by former employer

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:51 PM EDT2014-08-23 00:51:13 GMT
    Mike Culbreath is accused of conspiring with James Packard, a competing developer, to convince potential tenants to choose a competing development in the City of Huntsville.More >>
    Mike Culbreath is accused of conspiring with James Packard, a competing developer, to convince potential tenants to choose a competing development in the City of Huntsville.More >>
  • WAFF48 Anchors take ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

    WAFF48 Anchors take ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

    Mark Thornhill and Kim Essex took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.Mark Thornhill and Kim Essex took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
    WAFF48 News Anchors Mark Thornhill and Kim Essex took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.More >>
    WAFF48 News Anchors Mark Thornhill and Kim Essex took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.More >>
FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) -

The Alabama Department of Public Health is studying an increase in Legionella pneumonia cases in Florence.

The usual number of cases of Legionella in northwest Alabama is about four cases a year. Because two patients with the disease were reported to the Lauderdale County Health Department during the first week of October, the health department worked with local hospitals and doctors to find other patients with Legionella.

So far, the health department has identified 10 patients with Legionella pneumonia and is looking at five other possible cases.

As part of the process, the health department is working with physicians and hospitals, talking with the patients, and checking for any potential environmental sources of the germ. No new cases of Legionella have been reported since the first week of October, but the health department is still monitoring the situation closely.

Legionella pneumonia is not spread from person to person. Patients get Legionnaire's when they breathe in a mist or vapor containing the bacteria. Most healthy people exposed to the germ do not become sick. Officials said it is rare to have more than one case confirmed within the same time frame.

"Normally we don't get two cases back-to-back, and as a result of that we had already notified the state health department. As a local health department, we continue to consult with the state in making sure that we are getting all of our investigation done and identifying new cases," said Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers.

People at a higher risk for getting sick are those who are older than 50, are current or former smokers, have chronic lung problems like COPD, have weak immune systems from cancer, diabetes, or kidney failure, or are on chemotherapy.

Legionella pneumonia is caused by a germ that occurs naturally in the environment. The germ grows best in warm water. Some places where the germ can be found include hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, and decorative fountains.

Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle aches and headaches. Symptoms usually begin anywhere from two days to two weeks after being exposed to the bacteria.

Health officials said they have not had any new cases reported since the first week of October.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

1414 North Memorial Parkway
Huntsville, AL 35801
256-533-4848

WAFF Is a Proud Member
of the Raycom Family of Stations


FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WAFF. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.