Water system suspected as four UW Madison patients diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease

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Four patients at UW Hospital in Madison have developed Legionnaires’ Disease due to a suspected risk in the hospital’s hot water system.

Lisa Brunette, a spokesperson for UW Health told WMTV that the hospital is taking measures Wednesday afternoon to flush the hot water lines and eliminate the Legionella bacteria.

Brunette said a recent adjustment to the water system may be to blame. Legionnaires’ is caused by bacteria that are typically present at low concentrations in tap water.

Three former patients and one current patient tested positive for the disease within the past ten days.

Brunette said the hospital is testing to determine if the bacteria is related to the water system, and stopped all use of showers when it became aware of the sick patients. Legionnaires’ can be transmitted in hot water droplets. Cold tap water does not pose a health risk.

Legionnaires’ Disease is a form of pneumonia which can severely affect people over 50 and those with lung disease or compromised immune systems.

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