Ex-inmate treated for Legionnaires'

October 03, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - A former Roxbury Correctional Institution inmate has received treatment for Legionnaires' disease, and portions of the facility have tested positive for the water-borne bacteria, a prison spokeswoman said Monday.

According to Denise Glesinger, a public information officer for Roxbury, Legionella, which can cause pneumonia, was found in a unit where the inmate had been housed and in a cooling tower. Crews worked during the weekend to make sure the facility was safe, Glesinger said, and she said she was unaware of anyone else who had become ill.

"We were not sure whether he contracted it at Roxbury, or he could have actually contracted it while he was out on the street," Glesinger said.

According to a press release from the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, an inmate was diagnosed with the disease after being released from the facility early last month. Tests have not isolated where the inmate contracted the disease or whether he was sickened after being released from prison, Glesinger said.


Staff members have provided safe water to inmates in the unit where the disease was detected, but Glesinger said Monday evening she could not confirm whether access to showers had been restricted, as the press release states.

Glesinger said Monday evening that she was unsure when the inmate was diagnosed or when the prison began testing for the bacteria. About 450 correctional officers and staff work at the prison, which houses about 1,750 inmates, Glesinger said.

Legionella at a glance

· The disease is spread by the release of small droplets of contaminated water into the air.

· Symptoms can include high fever, chills, coughing, muscle aches and headaches.

· The disease cannot be spread from one person to another, and most people who are exposed to the bacteria do not get sick.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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