IDPH Reports Legionnaires’ Disease Cases At Chicago Hospital

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) yesterday epidemiologically linked two cases of healthcare-associated Legionnaires’ disease at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) in Chicago. On December 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notified IDPH of one case in an out-of-state patient who received treatment at NMH in November. IDPH linked that case with a separate patient who was at NMH in May.

IDPH is working with NMH, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and the CDC on the following actions:

  • Providing guidance on what patients to test and when
  • Reviewing all pneumonia cases that occurred on the floors where the two patients stayed
  • Discuss flushing protocols on the floors where the two patients stayed
  • Discuss expanding use of filters for shower heads and sink on the floors where the two patients stayed
  • Reviewing environmental water testing logs and water sampling approaches Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection (pneumonia) that people can get by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionella bacteria

In general, people do not spread Legionnaires’ disease to other people. However, this may be possible in rare cases. Legionella is found naturally in fresh water environments, like lakes and streams. It can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made water system.