According to a recent article by the Orlando Sentinel, two cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been confirmed by officials at a 55+ community in Lake County, Florida:
Florida Department of Health in Lake County officials confirmed two cases of Legionnaires’ disease at a 55-and-over community in Lady Lake they believe were contracted from a hot tub.
A resident and a visitor at Water Oaks Country Club Estates, off U.S. Highway 441 in Lady Lake, tested positive for Legionnaires after using the hot tub during March.
Health investigators, however, are asking that anyone who’s had exposure to the clubhouse hot tub through February to call the health department.
“We have included February in our investigation to ensure identification of any additional cases that may have occurred,” Giselle Barreto, lead epidemiologist at the Florida Department of Health in Lake County, said this week.
Barreto said Legionnaires’ disease, which shows itself through a high fever, coughing and shortness of breath, is more common in the summer and early months throughout Florida, but the “organism can be present in water systems at any time the environment presents suitable conditions for growth.”
Legionella bacteria can grow on pipes where a “biofilm” grows and is turned into an airborne mist through hot tubs, showers and whirlpools.
Barreto said the health officials are still awaiting results to see if the hot tub was the culprit.
“We were notified of our first case on April 16 and the additional case later that afternoon,” she said. “We were able to assess exposures for the clients on April 18 and conducted an onsite assessment April 19. We are awaiting the results of those samples.”
Last May, health officials received a positive Legionella case at the Summit Greens 55-and-over community in Clermont and investigated two other cases with similar symptoms.
Also last year, the Florida Department of Health in Orange County investigated a handful of cases connected to customers of two LA Fitness gyms in Orlando.
In July, hundreds of people living in the Westminster Towers retirement community in downtown Orlando were warned after a former resident contracted the disease.
About 6,000 cases of Legionnaires’ were reported in the U.S. in 2015, but the disease is likely underdiagnosed, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Image Credit: Orlando Sentinel