HARTFORD, CT - The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) together with the management of Apple Rehab in Rocky Hill is coordinating a response to two confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, a bacterial respiratory infection caused by exposure to the Legionella bacteria. Two cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been confirmed among residents of Apple Rehab, and one patient died recently. The DPH was notified on July 17, 2019 of a resident of the facility with Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionella bacteria were also found in water samples tested by the facility. Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia (lung infection) caused by breathing in aerosolized (small droplets) water containing Legionella bacteria. Legionella is a bacteria normally found in freshwater lakes and streams that can grow in human-made building water systems. Inhalation of droplets of water containing Legionella coming out of showerheads, sinks, and other water sources can cause Legionnaire’s disease. Legionnaires’ disease is not transmitted person-to-person. Most healthy people exposed to Legionella do not develop Legionnaires’ disease. People at increased risk of developing Legionnaires’ disease include: people 50 years or older, current or former smokers, people with chronic lung diseases, and people with weakened immune systems.
DPH and Apple Rehab personnel are continuing a joint investigation to identify the environmental source of Legionella bacteria to protect patients, staff and visitors. DPH personnel have reviewed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and discussed implementation with Apple Rehab administrators. The water system at Apple Rehab has also undergone chlorine treatment and further testing is underway. Patients, staff, and visitors have been notified of the finding of Legionella in the water system. Moving forward, DPH will be monitoring Apple Rehab’s water quality and disease prevention measures.