Danae King, writing for the Columbus Dispatch, reported that two residents of Wesley Ridge Retirement Community died as a result of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak which began on July 9 at the Reynoldsburg retirement community.
Of the sixteen cases confirmed, five people associated with Wesley Ridge are in various stages of treatment in area hospitals. The ages of those who are being treated are between 69 and 99. The names and ages of those who died have not been released.
The disease is believed to not be contagious. It is contracted by inhaling bacteria-contaminated water mist or vapor.
Franklin County Public Health and the Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working together on the investigation of the outbreak and determine its source.
The CDC ran tests on the water last weekend, and Wesley Ridge CEO Margaret Carmany said, “Everyone seems to be doing remarkably well, especially under the circumstances,” Carmany said. Wesley Ridge has about 200 residents.
At least one employee of the community is being treated as a result of the outbreak.
Susan Tilgner of the Franklin County Health Commissioner’s Office said, Wesley Ridge is super-heating its water system and adding hyperchlorination to kill any Legionella bacteria.
Residents are receiving bottled water and are showering at a nearby YMCA and Holiday Inn Express, Margaret Carmany said. Those precautions will continue until the water tests negatively for the bacteria several times and the CDC gives the OK.
Joseph R. Palmer, who lives at Wesley Ridge, said he and other residents are taking the situation in stride.
“They’re very calm,” Palmer said. “No panic.”
Tina Badurina, vice president of marketing for the YMCA of Central Ohio, said the Wesley Ridge residents could be using the YMCA facilities for the next five days.
“The people said they were very appreciative,” said Brad McCain, executive director at the YMCA.
The incubation period for the disease is two to 10 days, meaning people can be exposed and not show symptoms until more than a week later.
“We are always hopeful that we don’t have any more cases,” Tilgner said “Since the incubation period is 10 days, it’s likely we may have more.”
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