6 cases of Legionnaires' reported among Champaign-Urbana residents

Six residents have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease over the past month in the Champaign-Urbana area downstate.

The disease was potentially transmitted during wedding gatherings at the First Christian Church, 3601 S Staley Rd. in Champaign, according to a statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The state health department and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District were conducting an ongoing investigation into the cases Tuesday. No additional information about the residents was available.

Legionnaires’s disease is caused by a bacteria that is generally spread through water and water vapor — not through personal contact. Symptoms include potentially fatal pneumonia, high fever, chills and muscle pain, and it usually takes up to two weeks from exposure for the illness to manifest.

The disease has garnered a high profile after an outbreak at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in downstate Quincy left 13 of its residents dead and sickened dozens more since 2015. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who is up for reelection next month, has been railed by his opponents for his response to the crisis.

The health department has been announcing new cases of Legionnaires’ since then, citing “an abundance of caution.”

About 300 cases of Legionnaires’ are reported across the state each year, the state health department said.