Jacksonville hospital reports case of Legionnaires' disease to health department

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Diane Goldstein left Brunswick early Thursday morning to drop off her friend who had an early-morning appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

What she didn't expect to hear was the hospital had a reported case of Legionnaires' disease,  a potentially deadly disease, on their campus to the Florida Department of Health.

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Legionnaires' disease is a serious lung infection that people can get by breathing Legionella bacteria.

"You know when you hear someone has Legionnaires Disease, you know you want to stay away and not be exposed. I understand the course of that disease is pretty nasty and painful," Goldstein said.

Goldstein said neither nor her friend were told there was a case on campus.

Action News Jax contacted the Mayo Clinic and a spokesperson told us the hospital hasn't identified a risk to patients, staff, or their visitors.

The Mayo Clinic released the following statement, saying it is taking all necessary precautions:

"A case of Legionella pneumophila has been reported to the Florida Department of Health. We are following CDC recommendations pending the outcome of further water testing. Mitigation efforts are underway to reduce the potential for exposure.  All measures are precautionary at this time as we have not identified an immediate risk to patients, staff or visitors."

Outbreaks of the disease are usually associated with complex water systems like hot tubs, fountains, swimming pools, showers or cooling towers.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control, Legionnaires' disease typically does not sicken healthy people.

People who are 50 years or older or have a weakened immune system are at an increased risk.

The CDC says about 1 in 10 people can die from Legionnaires' disease, but it is treatable with antibiotics.

"You know the Mayo Clinic has a wonderful reputation so I would be really surprised that they would put anybody at risk," Goldstein said.

Symptoms include cough, fever, muscle aches and headaches.

Most people who get sick make a full recovery in the hospital.

For more information from the CDC, click here.