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West Allis man becomes first Legionnaire's disease death in 2013

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Wisconsin has recorded its first death from Legionnaire’s disease this year.

State officials said they could not provide details, but WITI-TV in Milwaukee identified the victim as 56-year-old Ken Luedke of West Allis.

His family told the TV station that Luedke thought he had the flu in late July, but it was later found to be Legionnaire’s.

Milwaukee County has recorded almost 50 cases this year – about as many as the entire state gets in a normal year. A source of the outbreak has not been determined.

Legionnaire’s disease is contracted by inhaling mist or water vapor from a source with legionella bacteria. Heavy smokers are most susceptible – plus those with chronic lung problems and a number of underlying medical conditions.

If it’s diagnosed early, officials say it can be treated with antibiotics.