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20 confirmed cases of Legionnaire's disease in Milwaukee County

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Milwaukee County has now confirmed 20 cases of Legionnaire’s disease in the last month-and-a-half.

Nobody has died – but of the 14 cases in the city of Milwaukee, four patients remain hospitalized. All but six of the 20 involved people with underlying health issues.

Officials said the first case was reported June 1st, but there was not a hint of an outbreak until the July 4th weekend when a cluster of cases was confirmed.

Legionnaire’s disease is a severe pneumonia caused by exposure to contaminated water or mist – either by drinking it, or breathing it in. Milwaukee officials say it can be treated quickly with antibiotics, but death can result in those who are not treated.

The disease kills up to 30 percent of those who get infected.

Legionnaire’s gets its name from the first known outbreak of the disease at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976.

Wisconsin records an average of around 50 cases a year. The last notable outbreak was in 2010, when 8 people got sick breathing mist from a decorative wall of water at a hospital in Cudahy. 

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