A Thousand Possibly Exposed to Legionnaires' Disease
CUDAHY - Aurora Healthcare has turned-off decorative fountains in the lobby areas of all of company facilities statewide after a lobby fountain in Cudahy was identified as a possible source of Legionnaires' disease.
Test results have not concluded that the fountain is the source of the outbreak. However, Aurora Healthcare said they turned it off right away as a preventative measure. Legionnaires' disease is often transmitted through a water source.
Hospital officials in Cudahy will spent Monday searching for thousands of people who possibly may have been exposed to a pneumonia-like disease in the last month.
Both Paula Windsor and Heidi Komorowski's mother are among the eight people who came down with Legionnaires' disease while at Aurora St. Luke's South Shore between February 24th and March 10th.
Windsor has been sick for the last week, every time she breaths it's like someone sitting on her chest.
"My voice has changed dramatically. I have a sore throat, I have a chronic cough and it's concerning me," said Windsor.
It's also concerning Heidi.
What Is Legionnaires' disease?
"(Monday) she'll be going in with my dad to see her doctor and we'll find out (Monday)," she said. "Kind of scary, actually."
Those eight people will survive but some are still hospitalized, including at least two at Aurora St. Luke's South Shore, where it all started.
"I'm sure we're going to be getting more cases," said Carol Wantuch, Cudahy's health officer.
Wantuch says Legionnaires' can be deadly but it's easily treatable, if you get treated soon. It's usually spread through contaminated mist in the air.
The symptoms include a high fever. "But when you couple that with cough, difficulty breathing, you suddenly have a whole new picture. You need to call the doctor," said Wantuch.
All weekend long, workers at Aurora St. Luke's South Shore have been trying to call several thousand people who may be infected.
Wantuch claims St. Luke's South Shore is safe after workers scrubbed down all potential hazards.
Paula Windsor isn't so sure.
"It's scary, it really is," said Windsor.
State health officials are investigating.