Boston VA patient diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease

A patient in the Boston VA Healthcare System has been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, officials said Friday.

The person was treated at VA hospitals in Brockton, Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury, and water is being tested at each location, said Pallas Wahl, a spokeswoman for the VA in Boston.

The tests should determine if the disease was contracted at one of the hospitals. Results are expected to return between one and two weeks, authorities said.


“Being good stewards,” the system is investigating all the patient’s “touch points,” as well as all water sources they may have come into contact with, Wahl said by telephone Friday evening.

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Legionnaires’ is a bacterial disease spread by water and not “person-to-person,” according to Dr. Katherine Linsenmeyer, associate epidemiologist at the VA Boston. More cases of the disease are reported in the summer, as water temperatures rise within pipes.

For the average person, the disease is similar to pneumonia, but for older patients and people with poor immune systems, the disease is more severe and has a higher mortality rate, Linsenmeyer said.

The VA did not release any information about the patient’s condition.

Confirmation of the case at the Boston VA comes after a recent outbreak of Legionnaires disease in New England.


From June to August, 14 people were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ in New Hampshire. The cases were tied to an outbreak in Hampton.

Rhode Island health officials on Friday said three cases were confirmed at a Providence nursing home, the Associated Press reported.

Jackson Cote can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jackson_k_cote.