Health officials name Johnsburg Walmart a possible source of exposure to Legionnaires'

The Walmart in Johnsburg has been identified as a potential spot where residents with Legionnaires' disease were exposed to Legionella bacteria, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The state’s health department identified a cluster of cases in McHenry and Lake counties in September and identified the Walmart, 3801 Running Brook Farm Blvd., as a potential exposure source.

The store has taken action, including turning off the produce water sprayers, according to an IDPH news release. Health officials said they will continue to investigate other potential exposure sources and identify other cases of Legionnaires’.

One cluster of cases involved residents in McHenry and Lake counties, while another included residents at the Warren Barr South Loop nursing home in Chicago.

“The two recently identified clusters of Legionnaires’ disease are not connected,” IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., said in a statement. “IDPH is continuing to investigate possible sources, identify other individuals who may have been exposed, and recommend remediation and prevention measures.”

Seen more frequently in hot weather, Legionella bacteria are transmitted through mist or small droplets of water from freshwater environments such as lakes and streams, according to the release.

Symptoms typically begin two to 10 days after exposure and can include coughing, muscle aches, fever, shortness of breath and headaches. Diarrhea and mental confusion also are common.

The McHenry County Department of Health announced 12 people from McHenry County were diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease in June.

McHenry County saw four cases of the disease in 2017, nine in 2016 and three in 2015.