Editor's note: Content provided by The Columbus Dispatch.
Two residents of Wesley Ridge Retirement Community have died as a result of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that began on July 9 at the Reynoldsburg retirement community.
Sixteen cases have been confirmed, and five people associated with Wesley Ridge are being treated in hospitals. The ages of those who have been sickened range from 63 to 99. The names and ages of those who died have not been released.
The disease is not contagious. It is contracted by inhaling bacteria-contaminated water mist or vapor.
Franklin County Public Health is working with the Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the outbreak and determine its source.
The CDC tested the water last weekend, and Wesley Ridge CEO Margaret Carmany said she expected the test results to be back today. “Everyone seems to be doing remarkably well, especially under the circumstances,” Carmany said. Wesley Ridge has about 200 residents.
At least one employee of the community was affected by the outbreak.
Wesley Ridge is super-heating its water system and adding hyperchlorination to kill any Legionella bacteria, Franklin County Health Commissioner Susan Tilgner said yesterday.
Residents are being given bottled water and are showering at a nearby YMCA and Holiday Inn Express, Carmany said. Those precautions will continue until the water tests negatively for the bacteria several times and the CDC gives the OK.
Joseph R. Palmer, who lives at Wesley Ridge, said he and other residents are taking the situation in stride.
“They’re very calm,” Palmer said. “No panic.”
Tina Badurina, vice president of marketing for the YMCA of Central Ohio, said the Wesley Ridge residents could be using the YMCA facilities for the next five days.
“The people said they were very appreciative,” said Brad McCain, executive director at the YMCA.
The incubation period for the disease is two to 10 days, meaning people can be exposed and not show symptoms until more than a week later.
“We are always hopeful that we don’t have any more cases,” Tilgner said “Since the incubation period is 10 days, it’s likely we may have more.”
Dispatch Reporter Jim Woods contributed to this report.