Ohio - Legionella Prevention and Costs of Legionnaires Outbreaks

Historical Headlines Related to Legionella

March 7,2023

Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital took precautions after two patients tested positive for the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease following hospital stays. The hospital has been working with Canton City Public Health to ensure the safety of the hospital’s water systems, according to a joint statement from the two entities. It has not been confirmed where the Legionella bacteria exposures occurred, they said. (Source)

October 25,2023

The Oakwood school district in Ohio has found legionella bacteria in its drinking water supply over the last 4 years. The school district is taking the right steps to kill the bacteria but it keeps coming back. What is happening in Oakwood clearly shows the flaw in this approach. The Oakwood school district can disinfect water lines in their buildings and kill legionella bacteria but none of these steps will prevent it from coming back because the real problems begin at the source. (Source)

October 12,2023

The Ohio state’s Department of Health officially confirmed five cases of Legionnaires disease in the county, raising concerns over the source of the disease. Adena Health System’s main campus in Chillicothe came under scrutiny following positive cases of Legionnaires disease. Nine individuals reported symptoms, and one fatality was linked to the disease. The hospital faced accusations from patients who claimed their illness was connected to Adena, despite the hospital denying any link to the facility. (Source)

September 7,2023

Water test results indicated Legionella was found at a school’s football stadium. The stadium was closed when student-athlete illnesses were reported. A few years earlier, a custodian at the school died of Legionnaires’ disease. Given the more recent discovery, the district is working to see if all other buildings can be evaluated sooner. (Source)

August 24,2023

Water was restored at two Oakwood schools after annual testing detected legionella bacteria the month prior. In a letter sent to Oakwood families, the district said that all-second round test results came back within allowed levels from the Center for Disease Control. The bacteria was detected in the water at the district’s junior high and high school after annual proactive testing, according to a spokesperson. All water fountains were closed in the impacted schools and no showering or use of hot water was permitted. The treatment of the water was completed and the second round of testing was conducted immediately, the district said. All water services have since been reopened. (Source)

August 24,2023

Two workers at an assembly plant in Macomb County were diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease. Details about their conditions and how they contracted the bacterial disease were not immediately clear. A spokeswoman for the assembly plant provided a company statement: "Stellantis has been notified that two employees at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. At this time, it has not been determined where the employees may have come in contact with the bacteria. However, out of an abundance of caution for the safety and welfare of our employees, we have mobilized a team to begin testing water sources, and are following appropriate and established protocols at the plant. As part of our thorough investigation, we will contact and cooperate with all proper agencies as necessary." (Source)

May 31,2023

Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio staff and inmates are coping well with water restrictions imposed after an inmate tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease. The CCNO executive director said in a press release that the inmate had spent eight days in an unnamed hospital for a “pre-planned unrelated surgery, with tests later coming back showing that he had tested positive for Legionnaires. “The test results came back after the inmate had returned to CCNO. The source of the Legionnaires is not known, and could be CCNO or the unidentified hospital.” (Source)

May 31,2023

No Legionella bacteria has been detected at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio. The CCNO executive director said that a CCNO inmate who had been hospitalized for a “pre-planned, unrelated surgery” at an unnamed local hospital was discovered to have tested positive for Legionnaires’. He said, “We got that (not-detected) result and immediately reached out to our contact at the Ohio Department of Health. “We can start a hot water remediation and we’ll be back to operating like normal this (Monday) evening,” he said. The release said remediation was the recommendation from ODH, as water at the jail had been turned off since Feb. 15, with the exception of those limited number of showers and sinks. (Source)

March 29, 2023

After three Legionella cases were reported at a Cincinnati-area hospital, Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, provided his expertise on the bacteria. Fichtenbaum said Legionella is more common in water systems across the U.S. than you may think. According to Fichtenbaum, hospitals are often more susceptible to the bacteria due to the many use cases in the facilities. "In factories and other office buildings, people use water to wash their hands, they use water in the toilets, and then maybe they drink some tap water. (Hospitals) need water for a lot of things. We need water for ice machines, we need water that goes through ventilator systems, there's water used in operating rooms. We're also cutting people open, and people are sick and breathing things in. It's a much more complicated environment." (Source)

March 23, 2023

Bottled water is being used by staff, patients, and guests at the Christ Hospital's main campus in Mount Auburn after three patients tested positive for the presence of Legionella. According to the Christ Hospital Health Network said it remains "inconclusive where the patients contracted the bacteria" but consistent with its preparedness policies, the hospital immediately began an increased number of water testing protocols and started an investigation. The hospital said the bottled water measure is being done "out of an abundance of caution." "We have an extensive water treatment program in place and will continue to adhere to advanced safety protocols and guidelines in coordination with City of Cincinnati Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Health," the statement said. "We continue with normal hospital operations with no interruption to patient care." (Source)

March 8, 2023

The Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio was notified that their water tested negative for legionella bacteria. The CCNO Executive Director said “We can start a hot water remediation and we’ll be back to operating like normal this evening.” CCNO says remediation was the recommendation from the Ohio Department of Health as the water has been turned off at the jail since Feb. 16, with the exception of limited showers and sinks which had filters installed for inmates use. According to CCNO, remediation is when the water heaters are turned up to raise the water temperatures and once the water has been hot enough, it will be flushed from the system. Staff and inmates at the jail were informed of this process and advised to not use the hot water for their safety as it will be scalding temperatures. As a precaution, ODH may suggest a follow-up test to be done after the remediation. CCNO was required to do the testing after an inmate tested positive for legionella bacteria earlier this month during a scheduled surgery at a local hospital. (Source)

March 1, 2023

Officials at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio have confirmed a positive test for Legionnaires’ disease for an inmate. One inmate tested positive for Legionnaires’ after going to the hospital for eight days for a scheduled surgery. Officials say it’s possible that either the hospital or CCNO potentially had water contaminated with Legionella bacteria. This is the first case of Legionnaires’ disease in 32 years. The corrections center is currently working with the local health department and the Ohio Department of Health. CCNO has hired water management advisors from Bowling Green who will test the water in certain areas. (Source)

February 1, 2023

Although drinking water in the United States is treated to meet the standards safe for drinking, cooking and bathing, low levels of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and protozoa remain.In addition to amoeba related diseases, bacteria and viruses can be spread through humidifiers, CPAP machines used to treat sleep apnea and essential oil diffusers that aerosolize water particles. These can cause things like Legionnaires disease, and other respiratory illnesses (Source)

December 15, 2022

Managers at the Western Hills Retirement Village in Ohio worked closely with public health officials to determine the source of Legionnaire’s disease after a case was found. “What first happens is you need to shut off the water supply which is exactly what this facility did,” said Hamilton County Department Public Information Officer Mike Samet. “They brought in alternative water sources, which is exactly what we’d ask them to do for staff and their residents.” Samet says the Ohio Department of Public Health and the Western Hills Retirement Village staff are working closely to mitigate the spread of Legionnaire’s disease. (Source)

December 15, 2022

Are hot tubs safe for everyone? Are you sure you’re not immersing yourself in a tub full of hot germs? Integrative medicine physician Irina Todorov, MD, explained how to use hot tubs with your health in mind. Possible germs that can lurk in hot tubs include Legionella, which can live in a hot tub’s steam. When you breathe the steam, you can get sick — even if you never swallow the water. (Source)

August 5, 2022

Legionella was found in Oakwood schools, the third straight year that tests discovered bacteria in the district. Results indicated that Legionella was found at the junior high/high school building and an elementary school. Water was turrned off as treatment requirements prohibit water usage during the process. (Source)

August 5, 2022

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded five grants totaling $1,020,754 to The Ohio State University. These grants are to fund critical scientific research projects and to increase participation in STEM fields. A research grant is included to fund research on Legionella, and to understand and predict Legionella disease outbreaks within building plumbing systems. (Source)


Legionella was been found in the water supply at Kettering Medical Center in March of 2021.


5 schools in Ohio had Legionella in their water supply in August of 2020 resulting in stagnant water after re-opening after COVID protocols. These are only a snapshot of the cases reported to local health departments in Illinois.

Reported Settlements and Jury Awards

Given the incidence of legionella in Illinois, and its associated harm, personal injury claims and litigation are also becoming more frequent. Reported settlements and jury awards range from $250,000 to $1.2 million.

State Cap on Jury Awards

Pursuant to Section 2315.18, Ohio has a cap on the award amounts allowable by law. The Ohio cap on noneconomic damages for non-catastrophic injuries is the greater of $250,000 OR three times economic damages, subject to a maximum of $350,000 per plaintiff. There is no cap if the victim has suffered a catastrophic injury, such as the loss of the use of a limb, a permanent and substantial physical deformity, or an injury that prevents one from caring for themselves and performing life-sustaining activities. In addition, public health notices and negative media attention can also lead to business interruption and reputation damage.

Groundwater Temperature Risk Level – Medium

Overall Liabliity and Risk for Ohio – High

No, ASHRAE 188 is not part of the state code

Legionella and Water Management Plan Assistance

Need help? For Legionella consulting and services, Water Management Plans, Legionella Control Systems, and Legionella testing please contact us at Legionella Control Systems at 888-416-8626 or info@legionellacontrolsystems.com

Nancrede Engineering Co., Inc. BBB Business Review