4th person dies of Legionnaires'

July 16, 1999|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

A fourth person died yesterday of Legionnaires' disease at Harford Memorial Hospital where a hot water tank is believed to have been the source of a recent outbreak.

Noting state confidentiality laws, officials declined to identify the patient. But a spokeswoman for a Havre de Grace nursing home last week confirmed that the patient was a woman in her 80s who became ill at the nursing home and was sent to the hospital.

While giving no other details, Bob Netherland, a spokesman for Upper Chesapeake Health Systems Inc., which runs the Havre de Grace hospital, said the patient was admitted there on June 28 with pneumonia and Legionnaires' disease symptoms.

"We think that this person acquired it out in the environment," Netherland said. "This patient's pattern did not fit the pattern of our other patients."

The four other people who developed Legionnaires' disease were patients at the hospital who were discharged and returned after becoming ill. One of those patients died June 28, another July 6 and the third July 9. The one surviving patient, who was diagnosed June 8, was treated with antibiotics and discharged soon after.

Because the woman who died yesterday went into the hospital exhibiting Legionnaires' disease symptoms without having been there before, state health officials also have tested the water at Citizens Care Center, the 200-bed nursing home where she had been living. Officials said those test results are expected next week.

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