Elliot Olsen is a nationally known Legionnaires lawyer who has regained millions for clients. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires in this Central DuPage Hospital outbreak, you might have cause to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.

Illinois health officials are investigating whether Central DuPage Hospital in suburban Chicago is the source for three cases of Legionnaires’ disease diagnosed at the hospital.

Investigators for the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) are seeking the source of Legionella bacteria that sickened three patients treated at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, about 34 miles west of downtown Chicago.

“[The patients] also had other possible sources of exposure during the 10 days before they started showing symptoms,” an IDPH press release stated.

One case involved an individual who had been admitted to the hospital, while the two other victims were treated as outpatients. No other information was released.

Chicago DuPage Hospital outbreak:
Precautionary measures taken

Hospital officials said they are taking precautions, including treating the building’s water system and flushing plumbing to remove any Legionella. Meanwhile, IDPH officials said they are planning another on-site visit to test the facility’s water.

“We are working closely with IDPH while also conducting an internal review to determine if these cases are related to hospital services,” Northwestern Medicine spokesperson Christopher King said in a statement. “The safety and health of our patients is our top priority. We will have no additional comments until the review is completed.”

Central DuPage Hospital is an acute-care facility with 390 beds. It is one of seven hospitals operated by Northwestern Medicine.

Central DuPage Hospital outbreak: 3 sickened by Legionnaires

Illinois health officials are investigating a Central DuPage Hospital outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease after three patients were diagnosed with the disease. The hospital is in Winfield, about 34 miles west of the Chicago Loop.

Chicago DuPage Hospital outbreak:
About Legionnaires’ disease

Legionella is contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets (mist or vapor). The bacteria thrive in warm water, and they are found primarily in human-made environments, including:

  • water systems of large buildings (hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, etc.)
  • large plumbing systems
  • hot-water heaters and tanks
  • bathroom showers and faucets
  • whirlpools and hot tubs
  • physical-therapy equipment
  • decorative fountains
  • air-conditioning system cooling towers.

While the risk of developing Legionnaires’ disease is low for most people, anyone with a chronic underlying condition is at an increased risk.

Chicago DuPage Hospital outbreak:
Symptoms are numerous – and vague

Symptoms often can be mistaken for those of pneumonia and even flu, and they usually develop two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella:

  • severe headaches
  • muscle aches
  • fever, which can be 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and chills.

Symptoms can worsen after a few days to include:

  • coughing, which can produce mucus or blood
  • dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • chest pains (also: pleuritic chest pains, pleurisy or pleuritis)
  • gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting)
  • confusion and other mental changes.

Out of an abundance of caution, if you are or were a patient at Central Dupage Hospital, an employee of, or recent visitor to the hospital and are feeling any combination of these symptoms, you should see your health-care provider immediately.

Chicago DuPage Hospital outbreak:
Large number of high-risk groups

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) annually in the U.S. Because of the disease’s nonspecific symptoms, however, only 5,000 of those cases are reported.

People at the greatest risk of infection include:

  • anyone 50 or older
  • smokers, either current or former
  • anyone with a chronic lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD, most commonly bronchitis or emphysema)
  • anyone with a compromised immune system
  • alcoholics.
Chicago DuPage Hospital outbreak:
A rough year for Chicago area

The end of 2019 can’t come fast enough for hospitals in the greater Chicago area. Central DuPage is the fifth hospital this year to deal with a Legionnaires’ outbreak.

The four other Chicago-area hospitals investigated by the IDPH in 2019 were:

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