Spike in Legionnaires' disease common during early fall - WNEM TV 5

Spike in Legionnaires' disease common during early fall

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Source: CNN Source: CNN
GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Health officials are warning Mid-Michigan residents of a potentially dangerous infection that spikes in the early fall months. 

The Genesee County Health Department said the risk of Legionnaires' disease is most common during the summer and early fall months. The respiratory infection is caused by the bacteria Legionella. 

People get Legionnaires' disease when they breathe in a mist or vapor containing the bacteria, the health department said. The bacteria is naturally found in rivers, lakes and streams but can also be found in man-made water supplies like hot water tanks, humidifiers showers and hot tubs. 

Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle ache, headache, pneumonia, and sometimes diarrhea and mental changes. 

A milder form of the illness is called Pontiac fever. The infection has similar symptoms but does not progress to pneumonia, health experts said. 

The health department said antibiotics are highly effective against Legionella. People over the age of 50, current or former smokers, those with weak immune systems or other chronic health conditions are at higher risk for infection. 

There have been nine cases reported in Genesee County this year. 

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