3 cases of Legionnaires’ Disease possibly linked to Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital

A DuPage County hospital has possibly been linked to at least three cases of Legionnaires’ Disease, according to public health officials.

Three former patients at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital contracted the lung infection within 12 months of their respective visits to the medical center, the Illinois Department of Public Health said. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that health care facilities be investigated if two or more cases are identified within that time period.

Though its possible that the cases originated from separate sources of exposure, two of the people found with Legionnaires’ had recent outpatient visits to the hospital, the IDPH said. The third was an inpatient.

Legionnaires’ Disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused by the legionella bacteria, according to the CDC. Though the bacteria occurs naturally and most healthy people who come in contact with it do not get sick, the possibility of illness can arise if the bacteria is swallowed into the lungs or inhaled through mist.

Outbreaks of Legionnaires’ Disease are most common in places with complex water systems, such as hotels, hospitals, long-term care facilities and cruise ships, the IDPH said.

The hospital is working with health officials to “strengthen its water management plan and implement multiple control measures,” the IDPH said. This includes flushing out the plumbing systems.