CLARK, NJ - There have been three confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Clark according to Mayor Sal Bonaccorso. These are part of the 22 cases in total in Union County in the last few months that have lead to five deaths.
“I want residents to understand there is no need to panic. We are on it, myself, Clark’s Health Officer Nancy Raymond, the state and the CDC are working together and taking it extremely seriously,” said Bonaccorso. “The good thing is this is curable with antibiotics so it’s important to get medical attention if experiencing flu-like symptoms.”
According to a release from the New Jersey Department of Health, no definitive link has been identified between the cases but the reported exposures appear to be geographically clustered. The NJDOH is working in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control to determine the source of the disease. Together the two organizations are conducting environmental investigations, taking samples for Legionella and making recommendations for environmental remediation.
Bonaccorso strongly urges residents to review the release from the NJDOH which includes answers to frequently asked questions and more about the situation and the disease. “It’s on the Clark Township website for our residents to read, it can really help them understand the facts about the disease and that there is no need to panic,” he said.
Highlights of the NJDOH information include:
- Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria and cannot be spread from person-to-person.
- People can get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in small droplets of water in the air that contain Legionella bacteria.
- Most healthy people exposed to Legionella bacteria do not get sick.
- People at increased risk of getting sick are: people 55 years or older, current/former smokers, people with chronic lung disease, people with weakened immune systems or who take drugs that weaken the immune system and people with underlying illnesses such as diabetes, kidney failure, or liver failure 2 o People at increased risk are encouraged to seek medical care if they are experiencing fever, shortness of breath, cough, pneumonia-like symptoms and not to delay in seeking care.
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