WILSON — A new case of Legionnaires' disease has been reported at a nursing facility in Wilson County, bringing to 12 the total number of cases of the bacterial pneumonia in the county this year, health officials said.
The county reported just 11 cases in all of 2013, but those were about one-eighth of all the Legionnaires' disease cases reported in North Carolina, The Wilson Times reported .
The latest case was reported at Wilson Pines, a nursing and rehabilitation facility. Eight of the 2014 cases have been linked the Wilson Pines, five in residents and three in visitors. Three additional cases were in residents at the Longleaf-Neuro Medical Treatment Center.
Legionella is a bacterium usually found in hot water and in systems producing aerosols or mist. People can become infected when they breathe in a mist or vapor that has been contaminated. But most people exposed to the bacteria do not get the disease.
Officials at Wilson Pines have installed microfilters on the water system that block the Legionella bacteria. The facility has sent water samples off to be tested and should have results back next week.
Both Wilson Pines and Longleaf-Neuro Medical Treatment Center aren't taking in new patients and have engineers working on their water supply.
Health officials also are looking to see if they can pinpoint any cause for the increase in Legionnaires' disease cases in Wilson County. They said the number of cases can fluctuate wildly and increases in cases in other counties in the past have been linked to weather patterns or an increase in testing by medical providers.