Legionnaires’ disease linked to Brookdale

February 5, 2016 • Local News

Residents of one of Roswell’s retirement communities are temporarily unable to shower and are using bottled water after a resident was diagnosed this week with a form of pneumonia caused by Legionnaires’ disease.

A spokesperson for Brookdale Senior Living of Brentwood, Tennessee, which operates Brookdale Country Clubs, said Thursday that several precautionary measures are being taken after the resident was diagnosed.

“This week, the Health Department notified us that we had a resident who was diagnosed with a form of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria, which is called Legionnaires’ disease,” said Shawna Zody, a public relations manager for Brookdale Senior Living. “We’re pleased this resident is now recovering.”

Zody said the New Mexico Department of Health took samples of the water at Brookdale Country Club I, formerly known as La Villa, and tested it to determine the source of the bacteria.

“There was some evidence of it in our community’s water system,” Zody said. “We are working with an industrial hygienist to treat the water and conduct additional testing.”

Zody said plumbing fixtures at the retirement facilities at 2725 N. Pennsylvania Ave. are being replaced and showers have been temporarily suspended.

“We have purchased bottled water for drinking and are requesting no showers or faucets in apartments be used temporarily,” Zody said. “We have no-rinse bathing products available for residents and care associates to use when assisting with bathing. All showerheads and sink nozzles will also be replaced.”

Zody said Legionella bacteria are commonly found in water sources. She cited the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s estimate that up to 70 percent of buildings, including hospitals, may have Legionella bacteria present in their water systems.

“While we regret this inconvenience, our goal is to protect the health, safety and well-being of our residents and associates,” Zody said.

Brookdale Country Clubs offer three different living arrangements based on the needs of residents.

Independent residents live in 12 two-bedroom, two-bath condominiums, each with a full kitchen, washer and dryer, fireplace, one-car garage and a small patio, according to Brookdale’s website.

Residents of the assisted living community live in 80 apartments, including studio and one-bedroom units, each with a small kitchenette and large wheelchair accessible bathroom with a roll-in shower.

Brookdale’s memory care community offers 23 double-occupancy studio apartments, each with closets and a private bath.

Legionnaires’ disease, also known as legionellosis or Legion fever, is a form of pneumonia caused by any type of Legionella bacteria. The disease is transmitted by inhalation of aerosolized water and/or soil contaminated with the Legionella bacteria. It is not airborne and Legionnaires’ disease is not transmitted from person to person.

The fatality rate of Legionnaires’ disease has ranged from 5 to 30 percent during various outbreaks and approaches 50 percent for infections originating in hospitals, especially when treatment with antibiotics is delayed.

The first recognized cases of Legionnaires’ disease occurred in July 1976 in Philadelphia when the disease acquired its name after an outbreak of pneumonia occurred among those attending a convention of the American Legion at a Philadelphia hotel.

Among more than 2,000 convention attendees, 221 contracted the disease, with 34 deaths.

Senior Writer Jeff Tucker may be contacted at 575-622-7710, ext. 303, or at

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