Health officials are warning everyone who visited a health care complex in the Lehigh Valley that they may have been exposed to Legionnaires’ Disease.
The disease is a potentially fatal pneumonia that exists around water sources and infects the person when it’s inhaled through the lungs. The disease also has local ties. It was first identified in Philadelphia back in 1976. During that outbreak, at an American Legion Convention at the old Bellevue-Stratford Hotel on Broad Street, 25 people were killed and more than 130 others were sickened. Bacteria that caused the outbreak was discovered in the hotel’s air conditioning system.
Now, health officials say, six cases of Legionnaires’ were linked to the Integrated Health Campus on Cetronia Road in South Whitehall Township, a health complex which houses several outpatient offices. According to officials, the source was a lobby fountain and cooling system in the 250 building of the complex. That fountain has since been drained and officials are currently awaiting the results of water tests. They are warning anyone who visited the building within the last few weeks to get tested with their doctor.
On Wednesday, NBC10 caught up with Tabitha Daniels, a mother of three who was taking her daughter and twins to the pediatrician at the complex. Daniels says she didn’t even hear about the cases until we informed her.
“I’m glad you informed us of it,” Daniels said. “It certainly worries me with the little ones. They’re only two weeks old. So that’s scary.”
Daniels says she will check her daughters for any sudden coughs, fever or shortness of breath.
“Just watching their respiratory symptoms and things like that,” she said. “Like I said, I hadn’t heard about it so I wish that I would have. I wish it would’ve been a little more publicized.”