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The Florida Department of Health in Lake County has confirmed two Legionnaires’ disease cases at a 55-plus community in Lady Lake, according to a report from Villages-News.com.

Testing done by the Department of Health determined that the hot tub at the Water Oak Country Club clubhouse was the source of the illnesses. No further information was available on the condition of the victims, or whether they needed to be hospitalized.

Residents, visitors and employees who have used the hot tub since Feb. 1 and who have exhibited or are currently exhibiting pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms should seek medical attention from their health-care provider. They should also contact the Department of Health at (352) 771-5573 to report their illness.

The 300-acre, active gated-community is located near The Villages, off U.S. 27/441 between Leesburg and Ocala, about an hour north of Orlando. Amenities of the community include an 18-hole golf course, four tennis courts, a bocce ball court, a horseshoe pit, an Olympic-size swimming pool, and a fitness center equipped with a Jacuzzi and sauna.

Water Oak Country Club is part of Sun Communities, Inc., a real-estate investment trust with more than 300 manufactured home communities and RV resorts located in 29 states, as well as Ontario, Canada. Sun Communities offers all-age communities, Sun RV resorts, and active 55-plus communities. Water Oak is one of Sun’s 100 active 55-plus communities in 71 cities.

Water Oak Country Club

The Florida Department of Health in Lake County has confirmed two Legionnaires’ disease cases at Water Oak Country Club, a 55-plus community in Lady Lake.

Water Oak Country Club:
rough run for Central Florida

There were 21 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in 2017 in Orange County, for which Orlando is the county seat. Some of the more high-profile events include:

  • Seven guests at three LA Fitness clubs in the Orlando metropolitan area were infected with Legionnaires’ disease between April and June. Last April, three guests of the LA Fitness in Ocoee (1560 E. Silver Star Road) contracted the disease, and last June, four members of the Metro West area LA Fitness (4792 Kirkman Road) and the Hunter’s Creek LA Fitness (12700 S. Orange Blossom Trail) were sickened.
  • In July, two residents at Summit Greens, a 55-and-older living community in suburban Orlando, were infected with Legionnaires’ disease.

Water Oak Country Club:
Legionnaires’ information

Legionnaires’ disease – which is also known as legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 25,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease occur in the United States annually, but only 5,000 cases are reported because of its nonspecific signs and symptoms.

In addition, 10 percent of people who become infected with Legionnaires’ disease will die from the infection.

Legionella bacteria are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets, generally in the form of mist or vapor. The bacteria grow best in warm water, and they are primarily found in human-made environments.

Outbreaks have been linked to numerous sources:

  • hot tubs
  • whirlpools
  • swimming pools
  • showers and faucets
  • physical therapy equipment
  • hot-water tanks and heaters
  • mist machines and hand-held sprayers
  • cooling towers of air conditioning systems
  • large plumbing systems
  • water systems, such as those used in hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
  • decorative fountains.

It is also possible to contract Legionnaires’ disease by “aspirating” contaminated drinking water – that is, choking or coughing while drinking, which causes the water to go down the wrong pipe and into the lungs. Home plumbing systems also can be home to Legionella. Both of those situations, however, happen very rarely.

What is an outbreak?
The CDC classifies a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak as occurring when two or more people are exposed to Legionella bacteria and get sick in the same vicinity at about the same time.

What are the symptoms?
Legionnaires’ disease is similar to other types of pneumonia. Symptoms can resemble those of flu, such as:

  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • headaches
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Who is most at risk?
Although anyone can contract Legionnaires’ disease, those most susceptible to infection include:

  • people 50 or older
  • smokers, both current and former
  • heavy drinkers of alcohol
  • people with chronic lung disease
  • people with weakened immune systems
  • recipients of organ transplants
  • individuals on specific drug protocols (corticosteroids, to name one).