SuperValu, Cargill among Hopkins businesses investigated for Legionnaires' source

- Health officials are investigating a variety of possible sources for the recent Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Hopkins, according to an official with the Minnesota Department of Health.  

On Wednesday, Doug Schultz with MDH said there are now six confirmed cases of Legionnaires' in Hopkins, one confirmed case that may be related to Hopkins, and two other possible cases in Minnesota. 

Last week, the City of Hopkins announced five cases of the respiratory disease had been reported over the course of about a month. The people involved either live or work within a two-mile radius of central Hopkins. 

Officials say cooling units on large buildings can be a source. Investigators are looking at SuperValu, a business called Thermotech, a fountain at Cargill and other smaller buildings in the area.

Another possible source for the spread are misters that spray water, like at grocery stores or restaurants.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, Legionnaires' disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Legionella pneumophila, which is found in water. The disease is not spread person-to-person, but by inhaling fine spray or aerosols from water that contains the bacteria.

The city's water is safe and is not the cause.

All the patients were over the age of 50. As of Friday, regarding the five initial cases reported, three people were hospitalized and two had recovered.

Legionnaires' can cause pneumonia-like symptoms, which include: cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headaches, and fever.

People older than 50 years old, smokers, and those with weakened immune systems or chronic lung problems have an increased risk of developing Legionnaires'.

For more information about Legionnaires' disease, click here.

 
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