Legionnaires' disease puts 2 in the hospital

The state's investigating the outbreak in Maple Grove.
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Health investigators are looking into what caused Legionnaires' disease at a Maple Grove senior living center. 

The Minnesota Department of Health says two residents have been hospitalized by the disease – which is a kind of pneumonia – and they're recovering. 

Investigators have not pinpointed the source of the outbreak at SilverCreek on Main, but the Health Department says there's evidence it's in the water system and they're assessing the plumbing. 

They've suggested some changes to protect residents and visitors at SilverCreek, where the campus includes memory care, assisted living, and independent living units. 

The facility said in a statement it has closed the swimming pools and is having residents use bottled water and avoid showers, KARE 11 reports

The state says Maple Grove's water quality meets all health standards. 

An outbreak last year, too

In 2016 nearly two dozen Legionnaires' cases turned up in Hopkins, where one person with the disease died. 

Investigators eventually traced that outbreak to the mist from a cooling tower. 

The disease is not contagious. It's spread when water droplets with the Legionella bacteria become airborne and people breathe them in, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains. 

The CDC says Legionnaires disease is fatal in about ten percent of cases. One death from Legionnaires' was reported in New York City Wednesday. 

But lots of people who breathe in the bacteria don't get the disease. Minnesota's Health Department says the risk is highest among people who are over 50, are smokers, or have another health condition like diabetes or lung disease.

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