The spread of Legionella bacteria is connected to water and weather conditions, said Rzeszów’s mayor Konrad Fijołek during a Thursday conference, urging people to remain calm. The source of the infection is still unknown, but it is located “somewhere in the water supply system.” The first results of water samples are expected to be known on Monday.
A total of 71 people have been admitted to hospitals in the Podkarpackie region in South East Poland due to legionellosis.
The source of the infection is still unknown, but Marek Posobkiewicz, former Chief Sanitary Inspector, stated that it is located “somewhere in the water supply system.” The first results of water samples are expected to be known on Monday.
All hospitalized individuals sought help with similar symptoms, including high fever, discomfort, and shortness of breath.
Andrzej Sroka, spokesperson for the University Clinical Hospital, reassured on Wednesday that individuals who are not burdened with serious illnesses will not be affected by the infection.
A fifth person infected with Legionella died last night, as reported by Polsat News. According to the outlet, it was a 79-year-old woman from Rzeszów who was admitted to the hospital a few days ago.
She was a patient with multiple underlying health conditions, including cancer. She was staying in the anesthesiology and intensive care unit. Tests confirmed the presence of the bacteria in her system,” said Grzegorz Materna, director of the Municipal Hospital on Rycerska Street.
On Thursday, a meeting of the city’s crisis staff began at the town hall. Officials and services are discussing the situation related to Legionella bacteria infections in the Podkarpackie region.
The crisis staff meeting is attended by Mayor Konrad Fijołek, Jaromir Ślączka, director of the District Sanitary and Epidemiological Station, Zbigniew Sowa, director of the municipal crisis management department, as well as directors of municipal companies and those responsible for the environment.
The meeting at the Subcarpathian Voivodeship Office in Rzeszów continued until late Wednesday night.
“The variant concerning the municipal water supply network as the source of the infection is being verified. The strategy for further actions, aimed at extinguishing the disease outbreak, has been established. It is necessary for the relevant authorities to take immediate action,” the Ministry of Health informed on social media.
Rzeszów Mayor: More information on Monday
On Thursday, after 2 p.m., new “reassuring information” was presented at a press conference.
“We analyzed the initial tests of the affected individuals with the sanitary-epidemiological services, the sources of bacterial occurrence, and that’s why crisis staffs were formed. The results of water samples will be known on Monday, and until then, we are analyzing the sources and conducting environmental interviews,” said Rzeszów Mayor Konrad Fijołek, adding that the current observations did not indicate “a specific point of correlation.“
“It is definitely related to water and weather conditions, and perhaps this led to the accumulation of these bacteria,” explained the city’s mayor.
Fijołek also appealed to remain calm and wait for further information regarding the situation. He reminded that the municipal water supply will be disinfected over the weekend.
Legionella is a type of bacteria commonly found in freshwater environments, such as lakes and rivers. When inhaled in the form of contaminated aerosols, Legionella can lead to a severe form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ disease, which poses a significant risk, particularly in settings with poorly maintained water systems like cooling towers or plumbing systems.
Legionella was first discovered after an outbreak of a mysterious respiratory illness occurred among attendees of an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976