DHSS investigating Legionnaires’ disease cases possibly linked to Phelps County hosptial
January 25, 2022
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is investigating four cases of Legionnaires’ disease among previously hospitalized patients at Phelps Health in Rolla, Missouri. The first case occurred in May 2021.
Out of an abundance of caution, DHSS is advising healthcare providers and the public of a potential health concern for individuals that may have been in contact with a water source within the hospital. People can get Legionnaires’ disease, a serious type of pneumonia, by breathing in small water droplets containing legionella bacteria. In general, people do not spread Legionnaires’ disease to other people. Symptoms usually begin 2-10 days after being exposed to the bacteria, but some can take up to 2 weeks after exposure.
If you develop symptoms of pneumonia within two weeks after being at a healthcare facility such as Phelps Health, seek medical attention right away and inform your provider of your possible exposure. Symptoms typically include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, headaches, confusion, nausea, or diarrhea. Ask your doctor to test you for legionella with both a urine test and a respiratory culture. The PCR test is also available. If you test positive for legionella infection, your doctor should report your illness to your local or state health department as soon as possible after your diagnosis