Legionnaires' Investigated at McHenry County Walmart, Chicago Nursing Home

Two new clusters of Legionnaires' disease cases were being investigated Friday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

A Johnsburg Walmart in McHenry County has been identified by health officials as a potential exposure source. Three people who reported being at the store were diagnosed with the lung infection. At the Warren Barr South Loop nursing home in Chicago, two residents also contracted Legionnaires' disease.

"I'm very shocked," Walmart shopper Shelby Nelson said. "Never had to worry about before, now it's a huge concern."

Legionnaires' disease is a form of pneumonia that people can get by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionella bacteria. Walmart has taken action: including turning off produce water sprays. Some shoppers say they are concerned, while others say the store is doing all it can.

"(I) might want to consider shopping somewhere else," shopper Ozzie Fernandez said.

Nelson said she thinks Walmart is attempting to address the issue. Walmart issued a statement on the matter Friday.

“We take the situation seriously and out of an abundance of caution are replacing our sprinkler system, which is specifically designed with nozzle sizes and no reservoirs to minimize and prevent exposure to this problem," the statement reads. "Because Legionella can be found almost anywhere, and the Legionella found was not the strain that reportedly caused the illnesses, the health department has been unable to confirm that our store was the source."

Meanwhile health officials say they will continue to investigate any look for any other potential sources and other cases of Legionnaires' disease cases.

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