State health officials have identified the likely source of a record-setting Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Hopkins, MN. The bacteria has been traced to a set of cooling towers at Citrus Systems, Inc., a local beverage manufacturer.
23 people have fallen ill with Legionnaires’ disease in Hopkins; 17 of them were hospitalized, and one died. The town has been struggling to identify the source of the outbreak since early September. Health officials studied the distribution of cases and the habits of the individuals affected; several water sources throughout the town were tested for Legionella bacteria. The investigation was eventually narrowed to cover a number of cooling towers in the area.
Lab testing has now shown that the strain of Legionella present in the patients is also present in the Citrus Systems cooling tower. In light of the current situation, the company is cooperating fully with the health department and has hired a water maintenance contractor. Citrus Systems now has a management plan for its cooling towers and will be working to improve maintenance in the future.
The beverage company has been in its current space since 2013. No employees of the manufacturing facility were reported to be involved with the outbreak, and health officials have stated that all food products from the facility are safe.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates.