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Lake County legionella update

An outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease has left one person dead and sickened ten others in Lake County.

County health officials have given the cooling towers at Consolidated Precision Products in Eastlake the all clear.

Last month, they were inspected after one person who works there and one each at two neighboring companies came down with Legionnaires’ disease. One of them, a 54-year old Cuyahoga County man, died.

“We were notified in early October of three cases that occurred between July, August and September of 2016,” said Lake County Health Commissioner Ron Graham.

Inspectors say during the testing, one tower tested positive for Legionella bacteria, which can cause symptoms similar to pneumonia.

“In this case, it was very clearly a concern over the water cooling towers located at Consolidated Precision Products, I want to be clear that we cannot confirm that any of these cases actually came from that facility,” Graham said.

The company released a statement that reads:

”Consolidated Precision Products’ independent test results recently confirmed the presence of elevated levels of the Legionella bacteria in one of the cooling towers at our Eastlake, OH facility. After these tests were taken, the facility’s production and cooling water systems, including the cooling towers, were cleaned and disinfected by an experienced industrial water treatment company in accordance with recommendations and protocols from the Ohio Department of Health. The cleaning and disinfecting activities that we conducted are the recommended course of action to remedy Legionella bacteria growth in cooling towers. No Legionella bacteria was detected in post-cleaning test results. We have kept our employees informed of the activities at the facility and are fully cooperating with the appropriate federal, state and local health agencies.”

The company says it kept its employees informed.

“I felt completely safe, our health safety group does a fine job of taking care of the employees here,” said one employee who did not want to be identified.

Eight other people who contracted the Legionella bacteria were within a five-mile radius of here, but as of right now, health officials have not linked their cases to this facility.

Commissioner Graham says Legionella is not spread person to person and can travel through the air for about a mile.

“The other ones could be using nebulizers for asthma and pulmonary issues that are not cleaned appropriately, on vacation for a period of time, or you may never find out what the source was, we do not think they’re linked,” said the health commissioner.

Graham says Wednesday afternoon, inspectors learned that tests done after the cooling towers at CPP were cleaned, show they are negative for Legionella.

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