Investigation underway to determine source of illness

An investigation is underway by health officials regarding a case of legionella, said Yvonne Atwood, disease prevention director at Branch Hillsdale St Joseph Community Health Agency.

An Allegan County man who was a resident at a Three Rivers nursing care facility later was confirmed positive for the bacterial pathogen, which causes a pneumonia-type illness often called legionnaires’ disease. It produces a mild flu-like illness and can be fatal to those with immune deficiencies.

The Allegan County communicable disease team determined his illness onset occurred when he was at the Three Rivers facility and requested help from the health agency.

Atwood said testing is underway to determine if water at the facility is the source of the disease. Officials declined to name the facility until the source of the bacteria is confirmed.

Health officer Rebecca Burns said water samples were taken and results are expected soon.

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