2nd UW patient with Legionnaire's disease dies

KING 5's Ryan Takeo reports.

SEATTLE – A second patient has died after contracting Legionella, also known as Legionnaires' disease, at UW Medical Center. UW also announced Wednesday that the source of the disease appears to be in the water supply of the hospital’s Cascade Tower.

UW Medicine said the discovery was made during an autopsy of a patient who died on Aug. 27 in the cardiac care unit. The autopsy discovered the person had Legionella and pneumonia, but it’s not yet known if Legionella was the cause of death.

In all, three patients who spent time in the cardiac care unit were diagnosed with Legionella. One of them died last week and another was discharged.

The cardiac care unit is located in the Cascade Tower.

King County Public Health says UW has taken immediate steps to reduce the risk where Legionella has been found in the water. It’s not yet known if there were any other cases before measures were enacted to stop the bacteria.

The CDC says Legionella is found naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams, but it can grow and spread in man-made water systems including hot water tanks and heaters, large plumbing systems, cooling towers used for air conditioning in large buildings, and decorative fountains.

Symptoms of Legionnaire’s disease include

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches

Copyright 2016 KING


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