CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — After an outbreak of legionnaires’ disease, health officials are looking for the source.
The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is investigating the origin of at least six cases in the county. The disease is caused by bacteria passed through water so officials are taking water samples from three different places; all within the county.
One is the First Christian Church, in Champaign. The state health department says the location had the strongest link to the disease, so they wanted to warn people.
Still, CUPHD says nothing is confirmed yet. If you’re worried about legionnaires’ disease, Julie Pryde, administrator of CUPHD, says you probably shouldn’t be.
“This is not something that’s running wild through the community and something people need to be concerned about.”
Six cases have been reported in the county since September 15. Now, officials are trying to find out where the outbreak started.
“We will be looking at people, what they’ve done in the 14 days prior to getting ill. If there’s anything in there, where they may have crossed paths and gone to the same place, we start by investigating that.”
The disease, which has pneumonia-like symptoms isn’t contagious. It’s caused by bacteria and transmitted through water.
“Decorative fountains or hot tubs or cooling fountains.”
State health officials say some patients may have gone to a wedding at First Christian Church before getting sick.
“We have not yet got back the samples from that.”
The state says those results can take up to two weeks. After that, Pryde says they’ll be able to tackle the problem.
“We will probably find a source or multiple sources of it and then we will work with the facilities to eliminate the risk.”
This series is the most cases of legionnaires’ disease the county has seen in years. There were two cases last year, four in 2016 and two in 2015.
Demolition started Tuesday on the VA home in Quincy. More than a dozen people died from legionnaires’ there several years ago. Dozens more were sickened. The demolition is part off the state’s plan to eliminate the disease there.