The Multnomah County Health Department has notified more than 100 residents of the Rosemont Court senior living apartment complex in North Portland, Oregon of a deadly outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease.
Health officials became concerned that the apartment building’s water system may be contaminated with Legionella bacteria after multiple residents developed pneumonia.
An investigations team identified the building’s water supply as the likely source by mid-afternoon on January 4.
Within hours, residents of the complex were given assistance and asked to temporarily relocate while the building managers disinfected the water system, which involved shutting off the water.
Four residents were infected with Legionella, including one person who died.
Legionella bacteria is found naturally in fresh water, but it can spread through the air in tiny droplets of water that spray from showers and faucets. When people breathe the bacteria, they can develop a serious type of pneumonia called Legionnaire’s disease.
For those who show symptoms of the illness, the first signs are usually flu-like symptoms such as fever, tiredness, muscle aches, and headache. A serious lung infection (pneumonia) can cause a cough and chest pain. Many people who are infected also have diarrhea.