PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Health said Wednesday that a South Kingstown nursing home responded quickly after a case of Legionnaires’ disease was discovered there earlier this month.
Elderwood of Scallop Shell at Wakefield administrators have been “very proactive and very responsive,” according to Joseph Wendelken, a Department of Health spokesman. He said the facility brought in a water management company to install special filters and “hyper-chlorinate” their water system, among other measures.
Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria, and people can contract it by breathing in mist from water containing the bacteria. The mist may come from hot tubs, showers, or faucets.
While most people exposed to the bacteria don’t become sick – and the bacteria do not spread from person to person – people are more likely to get sick if they are older than 50, have a chronic lung disease or a weakened immune system, Wendelken said.
In 2018, the state of Rhode Island had 73 reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease, including three people at a Providence health care facility. The rate of incidence has been steadily increasing statewide since 2015 and nationwide since 2000, according to Department of Health data.