Legionnaires' Infects 9 at LA Hospital

LOS ANGELES - A bacterial respiratory disease has infected nine recent patients at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles.

Hospital officials report two patients have died and seven have fallen ill from the bacterium Legionella pneumophila. The disease, named after an 1976 American Legion convention in Philadelphia where 29 people died and 221 became ill with the sickness, is infectious via water mist.

It is reported that hospital officials became aware of the potential outbreak in January, when all patients began receiving bottled water. Additionally, all shower heads have been replaced and the plumbing system has undergone a super-heated flush. The source of the infection is unknown.

All nine patients reportedly spent time on the same floor of the main building. The hospital is a 408-bed facility. Members of the community are also being tested for infection.

Some 8,000 to 18,000 people are infected annually with the bacterium, with five to 30 percent of infections resulting in death.

For additional information on Legionnaires' disease log on to www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/legionellosis_g.htm.

Information from www.sfgate.com