According to media reports, certain states in New England have seen a significant increase in reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease, and health officials are unsure of the cause.
In Maine, 10 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are usually reported each year, but 18 cases have been reported this year so far. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that the 18 victims this year range in age from 26 to 89 and live in eight different counties. Most victims were hospitalized due to the severity of their illness, but all have recovered or are recovering. No common source of infection has been uncovered.
A similar trend has been observed in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Massachusetts in particular has documented 211 cases so far this year, compared to last year’s 118 – an 88% spike. Connecticut has also seen a jump to 72 cases this year from 47 last year.
Some areas of eastern Canada have witnessed higher numbers of Legionnaires’ disease as well, media reports indicate.
An earlier post on this blog noted that the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York have also apparently experienced higher numbers of Legionnaires’ disease cases this year.
Health officials have guessed that heavy rains this fall may have contributed to New England’s higher number of Legionnaires’ disease cases (the legionella bacteria thrive in tepid, stagnant water), but they say there is no obvious explanation.
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