The number of confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease occurring at the Mount Carmel Grove City hospital has increased to 10 as of June 4.

Franklin County Public Health reported the victims’ ages range from 50 to 90 years old with an average age of 71.5 years.

Six women and four men have contracted the disease and all 10 had been hospitalized at the Grove City hospital, according to data provided by Mitzi Kline, director of communication and marketing with Franklin County Public Health.

One person diagnosed with Legionnaires’ died June 2.

Officials from the Ohio Department of Health and Franklin County Public Health are working with Mount Carmel Health System to determine what caused the outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at the hospital.

"My entire team and I are deeply saddened by the death announced (Sunday) by Mount Carmel Grove City, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family," Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton said in a statement.

"We share concern for all impacted by this outbreak," Acton said. "The Ohio Department of Health continues to work closely with Franklin County Public Health and the Mount Carmel Hospital System as we work to ensure patient safety."

The hospital said it would not be releasing the name of the patient who died.

"Out of respect for the family's privacy and in keeping with patient privacy laws, we are not discussing the specifics and complexities of patient information," Dr. Richard Streck, chief clinical operations officer, Mount Carmel Health System, said in a statement from the hospital.

"We can say that it's too early to determine the final cause of death," Streck said. "Currently, we're working with county and state health officials to identify the source of the bacteria. We've taken several steps to protect our patients, staff and visitors, including implementing extensive water restrictions.

"We are running additional tests on water sources throughout Mount Carmel Grove City, and our entire water supply is undergoing supplemental disinfection. We're confident that we can safely maintain full services of the hospital," he said.

Most people have a low risk of developing Legionnaires' disease, but anyone with chronic, underlying medical conditions are at increased risk, Streck said.

Legionnaires' disease is caused by breathing in airborne water droplets that contains the Legionella bacterium, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Symptoms, which usually begin two to 10 days after exposure, include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches, according to the site.

Legionnaires' disease generally kills about 10 percent of those diagnosed in the general population, but that rate can rise to one in four people when the outbreak is at a nursing home or hospital, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The Legionnaires' disease outbreak was announced May 31.

The first Mount Carmel Grove City patient diagnosed with Legionnaires' was admitted to the hospital April 29 and stayed until May 7. The 210-bed hospital opened April 28, officials said.

Five other people who contracted the disease were patients at Mount Carmel Grove City between May 8 and May 20. A seventh case was identified May 31.

The state health department issued an order May 31 that Mount Carmel Health System "take immediate action" to contain the Legionnaires' disease outbreak at the Grove City hospital.

Acton issued an adjudication order that required the hospital to take several steps, including flushing all hot and cold water lines and fixtures throughout the seven-floor facility, implementing immediate remediation practices to disinfect hot and cold water lines and fixtures, testing and cleaning all ice machines and cleaning and servicing the two on-site cooling towers.

Acton also directed the hospital to provide all test results and a water-management plan.

If Mount Carmel Grove City failed to implement the ordered actions, the hospital would not be able to admit new patients, Acton said.

Officials from the Ohio Department of Health and Franklin County Public Health conducted an environmental-health assessment June 1 at the hospital to help determine how the seven cases of Legionnaires' disease had occurred.

An environmental-health assessment is a tool the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed to identify high-risk areas where the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease might be present and determine recommended actions to resolve the issue, said Rebecca Fugitt, assistant chief of the Ohio Department of Health's Bureau of Environmental Health and Radiation Protection.

"Mount Carmel has been very cooperative and took the team everywhere we needed to see," she said.

The hospital began taking immediate steps to address the situation, including disinfecting its water system, Fugitt said.

The June 1 assessment held is expected to generate a set of recommendations that would be forwarded to Mount Carmel, she said.

"The scope of those recommendations may change depending on the results from (the June 1) assessment," she said.

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