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Nine residents of McHenry County in northeastern Illinois were sickened with Legionnaires’ disease in less than a month, the McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) said.
McHenry County residents of the cities of Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Huntley, McHenry and Wonder Lake were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease between June 7 and July 1. The ages of those sickened ranged from 46 to 82 years old.
No link or common source has been identified, and the MCDH has begun an investigation.
“I can tell you eight people were hospitalized, (and) seven have been released,” Keri Zaleski, public information officer for the department, said in an email to the Woodstock Independent. “(Federal privacy) laws prevent any further information about this.”
None of those sickened were patients or residents of long-term-care facilities, but those facilities – along with other health-care providers and local municipalities – have been alerted “as a precautionary measure,” Zaleski said.
McHenry County: investigation aid
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is assisting the MCDH with its investigation. Local officials also have contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with updates.
There were four cases of Legionnaires’ disease in McHenry County in 2017, nine in 2016, and three in 2015. Its northern-most border abuts Wisconsin. The 2010 census put the county’s population at 308,760, which would make it the sixth-most populous county in the state.
McHenry County: not alone
In neighboring Kane County, which lies directly south of McHenry County, officials are investigating two cases of Legionnaires’ disease that occurred in May and June.
“For all we know, the cases are not related to what is going on in McHenry County,” Tom Schlueter, spokesperson for the Kane County Health Department, told the Aurora Beacon-News. “We’ll be working with the Illinois Department of Public Health and McHenry County to determine if we have any similar cases.”
The two cases are the only cases reported in Kane County this year, down from 17 cases confirmed last year.