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State MDs: Legionnaires disease fear unfounded

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COVINGTON, La. (AP) - Workers at the St. Tammany Parish courthouse were worried after a co-worker died of Legionnaire's disease, so the parish asked state public health doctors to check things out. State epidemiologist Raoult (rah-OOL) Ratard (ruh-TAHR) and a regional director spoke Monday with leaders of agencies with offices in the courthouse.

Ratard says Legionnaires disease is a fairly common form of pneumonia and the Legionella bacteria causes about 300 cases a year in Louisiana outside hospitals and prisons. He says people don't get it from each other but from inhaling tiny droplets in mists from water systems.

He says it responds well to antibiotics; many people never know they've been exposed; and babies, older people and those with immune system problems are most likely to get sick.



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