1 dead, 3 others hospitalized in Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at North Portland apartment complex

Health and Fitness – The Organian Updated 08 January 2021

By Jayati Ramakrishnan | The Oregonian/OregonLive

An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at a North Portland apartment complex has sickened four people, Multnomah County health officials said Tuesday. One of those people has died.

County officials told more than 100 residents of Rosemont Court on Dekum Street to leave after multiple residents contracted pneumonia, according to a news release issued by Multnomah County. The health department said experts linked the outbreak Monday to the apartment’s water system. County officials are working to clean the building’s plumbing system and remove any remaining traces of Legionella, the bacteria that causes the disease.

The health department is working with Northwest Housing Alternatives, which owns Rosemont Court, to find other places for residents to stay, according to a news release. Multnomah County spokeswoman Julie Sullivan-Springhetti said residents were staying in various Portland-area hotels, per a contract with the county, while health officials investigate the source of the outbreak.

Humans can contract the disease when they breathe in very small droplets of water with the bacteria. Most people exposed to it don’t get sick. However, some people can contract severe pneumonia. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, muscle aches and headache. More serious symptoms include cough and chest pain. Elderly people, smokers and those with chronic diseases are at higher risk.

As of Monday evening, 20 residents had left the building. The health department said more were planning to leave Tuesday.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

-Jayati Ramakrishnan; 503-221-4320; jramakrishnan@oregonian.com

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