Legionnaires' Disease

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Legionnaires’ Disease Kills 5 In New Jersey County

May 24, 2019 - 4:30 pm
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UNION COUNTY (WCBS 880) – Five people have died from Legionnaire’s disease in Union County in recent months, and the federal government is assisting New Jersey health officials as they investigate the cause.

In total, 22 people in Union County have been sickened by the illness since the beginning of March.

The source of the cluster is not yet known, but the state’s Health Department is getting help from the CDC in their investigation.

State Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal is putting out a warning to anyone who has been in the county in recent months.

"To all residents of Union County and folks that are passing through, as well, or who may have passed through over the last couple of months. Just to be vigilant for signs of pneumonia and to call their healthcare provider if they are experiencing them," Elnahal said.

Legionnaires' disease is contracted by breathing in water droplets contaminated with the bacterium Legionella. It is not transferred through human contact.

"It's a unique way of contracting the disease," said. "Which is why it's harder to get it than some other diseases. That said, it's important to be careful, which is why we put out the notice."

Symptoms can include fever, chills and muscle aches.