The state Departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and Public Health (DPH) today confirmed that a patient at Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH) has been diagnosed with legionellosis, a bacterial infection that causes pneumonia-like symptoms, commonly known as Legionnaires’ disease. The patient is receiving treatment at a local area hospital and is doing well. A second suspected case is currently being treated, and DPH is awaiting the results of a confirmatory test.
DMHAS and DPH are working in concert to determine the possible source of the bacteria, Legionella, that caused the illness. Legionella is typically found in soil and water. The bacteria grow best in warm water and have been found in cooling towers, hot tubs, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, air conditioning systems and decorative fountains. When it becomes airborne, it can cause a very serious form of pneumonia, particularly in individuals with underlying lung conditions or compromised immune systems.
It is not unusual for cases of legionellosis to be seen in Connecticut. Typically, 50-80 cases are diagnosed each year in our state. Legionnaires’ disease cannot be transmitted from person to person.
"My office has been in contact with relevant agencies, and we will continue to monitor this closely. Our agencies are working together and will continue to provide my office with updates in real-time. While this is something state government is taking very seriously, I would encourage the public to not be alarmed. We will continue to work diligently until this is resolved and provide updates as needed," Governor Dannel Malloy said.
"Patient care is our number one priority, and we are educating our patients and staff in the unlikely event that additional cases occur," said DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon. "While we investigate the source we will continue to keep our patients and staff informed."
"We are working closely with DMHAS to determine the source of the legionellosis and to advise on additional steps that may be required to remediate the source and protect patients and staff," DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino added. "This is a serious disease, especially for individuals with pre-existing conditions. However, it is not unusual to see cases of legionellosis in Connecticut, and it is important to keep in mind that the bacteria cannot be transmitted from person to person."
Officials noted that this case of Legionnaires’ is different from the recent outbreak of the disease in New York City, which was caused by contaminated water in large cooling towers on top of a hospital in the Bronx. Water dripping from the cooling towers was responsible for transmitting legionella to pedestrians, patients, and hospital staff walking on the sidewalks below.