PARMA, Ohio-- The Cuyahoga County Board of Health has now confirmed a 93-year-old Parma woman had been diagnosed with Legionnaires earlier this summer and passed away July 5.
The Board of Health is looking into six other confirmed cases of Legionnaires disease among the community at St. Columbkille Parish in Parma. There are three other cases of legionella that the Board of Health is also investigating. These cases have not been tied to St. Columbkille as of this time.
They will be interviewing members of the church community over the next several days.
The board of health said they will be conducting environmental testing on the premises of the church and results may take up to 10 days to be returned.
Parishioners were made aware of this during church services this weekend. The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland released the following statement:
St. Columbkille Parish is committed to ensuring the safety of its parishioners and all who may visit the parish. The parish continues to fully cooperate in the Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s ongoing investigation into the potential cause of the reported cases of legionella involving St. Columbkille parishioners. Inspectors from the Board of Health have visited the parish multiple times in recent days and have found no evidence that St. Columbkille Parish is the cause of these cases. Additional testing is being conducted by the Board of Health today, although it may take several days or more before the results of that testing are received. In the meantime, St. Columbkille Parish is following all recommended actions provided by the Board of Health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, legionella can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia; or a milder illness called Pontiac fever. The CDC says most people exposed to legionella do not get sick; however, people 50 years or older, current or former smokers, and people with a weakened immune system or chronic disease are at an increased risk.