DARLINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control are investigating 13 Legionnaires’ disease cases in Darlington County, according to a news release.
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria, DHEC said. Symptoms often include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath and muscle aches. The disease is not spread from person to person, but rather by breathing in particles of water containing the bacteria.
Individuals ages 50 and older who smoke, have weak immune systems, have chronic lung disease or other chronic health conditions have a higher risk of becoming infected, according to the release. Anyone experiencing symptoms of pneumonia should seek medical care early.
Dr. Abdoulaye Diedhiou, the director of DHEC’s Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology said the risk of catching Legionnaires’ disease in Darlington County is low.
“Most people exposed to Legionella do not develop Legionnaires’ disease.”
DHEC’s investigation efforts include determining the source of the disease in the Darlington County community, the release reads. Water from cooling towers, hot tubs, misters, fountains and plumbing systems are all among the possible sources of infection, making the investigation challenging.
Breathing in water mists from human-made water systems can help people protect themselves from infection, according to the release.
For more information about Legionnaires’ disease, click here.