Legionnaires’ Disease hits N. Portland’s Rosemont Court again

Multnomah County

Legionnaires' Disease is a bacterial infection spread from a water source

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Neomia Pickett has lived at Rosemont Court in North Portland for years, ever since she moved from Chicago. But now she’s considering moving after the confirmation of another case of Legionnaires’ Disease at the senior home.

The Multnomah County Health Department confirmed the outbreak happened at Rosemont Court late last month. There was a previous outbreak of the same disease caused by bacteria at Rosemont Court in January 2021.

In total, there have been 10 confirmed and 4 presumptive cases, including one death, health officials said.
The health department said it is working closely with the Oregon Health Authority to locate potential sources and limit the risk of the bacteria.

Neomia PIckett is a resident at Rosemont Court in North Portland, October 13, 2021 (KOIN)

The same bacterial disease in January 2021 prompted the water to be shut off to the building, residents evacuated and the plumbing system cleaned.

Pickett said Rosemont Court “is the first place I found. I kept it all these years.” But now, she said, “it has too much going on.”

She also spoke with KOIN 6 News in January when the first outbreak happened.

“When I got home, they told me I had to pack up,” she said then. “I like all the people. I love them all. I didn’t know it was this serious.

More information on Legionnaires’ Disease

On Wednesday, she reflected about that evacuation.

“We had to go to a motel, because the water wasn’t right, we couldn’t drink it. So, I did that, then they brought us back.”

Now she wants to move.

“I’m going to have to leave this place, find another place, yeah,” she said.

But other neighbors said the problem for many residents is they don’t have the money to leave and there is a lack of affordable housing.

What is Legionnaires’ Disease

“Legionnaires disease is a bacterial infection caused by bacteria called Legionella which spreads typically from a water source,” Multnomah County Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines told KOIN 6 News in January 2021. “It spreads typically from a water source so someone has to inhale the bacteria usually through a mist or an aerosol and gets into their bodies.”

Older people or those with weak lungs or other underlying conditions are at higher risk, she said. But Legionnaires’ disease is not spread person-to-person, “only through exposure through water mist.”

Vines said it generally acts like a flu — muscle aches, headache, fever — but it can progress to pneumonia through the lung infection.

“That is what can be quite serious, especially in older people and people with fragile underlying health.”

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