New Jersey Department of Health Investigating Possible Cluster of Legionnaires’ Disease Cases in Essex County

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is investigating a possible cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases in Essex County, New Jersey.

As of July 30, NJDOH is aware of eight suspected cases of Legionnaires’ disease in individuals who reside in or visited Essex County, New Jersey. The cases were reported to NJDOH between July 16 through July 26, 2021. NJDOH is currently working with the local health departments in Essex County to investigate these cases.

 

“The risk of Legionnaires’ disease among any resident of, or recent visitor to Essex County is low,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Out of an abundance of caution, the Department recommends that individuals who live in Essex County who become ill with pneumonia-like/respiratory symptoms, such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle aches, and headache visit their healthcare provider immediately to be evaluated.”

As it can take up to two weeks for symptoms to develop, NJDOH recommends that those who develop symptoms within two weeks of visiting Essex County also seek medical attention. NJDOH has alerted healthcare providers in the area. A laboratory test is required to determine if you are sick with Legionnaires’ disease or COVID-19. Legionnaires’ disease is treatable with antibiotics. It is important to note that symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease are similar to those of COVID-19.

Most healthy people exposed to Legionella do not develop Legionnaires’ disease. People over the age of 50, especially those who smoke cigarettes, or those with certain medical conditions, including weakened immune systems, chronic lung disease or other chronic health conditions, are at increased risk for Legionnaires’ disease.

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