One dead as Legionnaires Disease is found in Hamilton, NJ, drinking water
Residents and businesses in Hamilton Township, Mercer County, are being urged to take precautions after Legionnaires Disease was found in the public water supply.
The township has posted an alert on their website after half of the water samples collected from homes served by the Trenton Water Works tested positive for Legionnaires Disease bacteria.
Among the previous cases, one in Dec. 2021 that resulted on one death.
Homes served by Aqua NJ are not believed to be effected.
New Jersey Department of Health officials are urging Hamilton residents to keep their hot water heaters set above 120 degrees to inhibit the growth of bacteria as well as regularly flush their pipes, clean or replace dirty shower heads, faucets and water filters.
Individuals in general good health are not at high risk, but the Legionnaires bacteria can cause severe illness in those over 50, with lung disease or other health conditions.
You cannot get Legionnaires Disease by drinking water. It is transmitted through water droplets that are inhaled into the lungs.
This can happen during a shower, in a pool or hot tub, from a water fountain or during activities like power washing.
According to the notice posted by Hamilton Township: Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches, which are similar to symptoms caused by other respiratory infections, including COVID-19. Legionnaires’ disease can be fatal but is treatable with antibiotics. It is important that anyone who thinks they have symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease contact their health care provider and seek medical evaluation.
A full list of precautions recommended by the Department of Health can be found here.
Local officials are working with the state to try and determine if this contamination is coming from the water served by Trenton Water Works, or if it is present in the pipes of older homes or from another source.
Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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