Two residents at Fulton Presbyterian Manor tested positive for the Legionella bacteria at the local senior living facility, according to a news release Sunday afternoon.
"We've not found the source of it yet," Callaway County Health Department Administrator Sharon Lynch said Monday morning. "It's in the soil; it's not like it's an odd thing."
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Callaway County Health Department and Fulton Presbyterian Manor are working together to identify the source, according to the news release.
"Usually it's in the environment, and usually (it affects) someone with a weakened immune system," Lynch added. "There are usually a few deaths a year, and usually in the elderly. It's opportunistic."
Legionella is naturally occurring, and people can be regularly exposed to Legionella bacteria. Legionnaires' disease is a serious type of pneumonia acquired by breathing in small water droplets containing Legionella germs. Risk may be greater if in those 50 years or older, who smoke cigarettes or who have certain medical conditions, such as a weakened immune system. In general, people do not spread Legionnaires' disease to other people.
If you develop symptoms of pneumonia and have recently stayed or visited at Fulton Presbyterian Manor, consult your physician for medical attention.
Bill Taylor, chief operations officer for Presbyterian Manors Mid-America, prioritized their efforts as follows: "PMMA communities follow detailed policies to ensure the best outcomes for these kinds of challenges. The organization has a simple and straightforward philosophy when it comes to the matter of resident, employee and public safety: Safety First."
Fulton Presbyterian Manor has completed two series of water sampling testing, one by the state of Missouri and one by a private company, and all of the environmental and water sampling tests have been negative for Legionella bacteria, according to the news release.