Health officials say water in the Orono-Veazie water district is safe to drink, despite the detection of the bacteria that causes Legionnaires Disease.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported earlier this month that physicians had reported six confirmed cases of legionellosis, dating back to November, with patients ranging in age from 50 to under 85 years. Officials say this represents an increase from the 5-year median of 3.2 cases in Penobscot County.

There's been no connection made between the bacteria found in the Orono-Veazie water district and the patients in Bangor, but an investigation is ongoing. State Health officials told the BDN that the water is safe to drink, as the amount of chlorination has been increased. Follow-up water testing is planned, to ensure its continued safety standards.

Health care providers are urged to watch for legionellosis cases, and to test for it with any case of pneumonia. The Mayo Clinic says symptoms of Legionnaires Disease include headache, muscle pain, chills, and a fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit of more. By the second or third day, patients can develop symptoms to include shortness of breath, a cough that can produce phlegm or blood, chest pains, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, and mental confusion.

Legionnaires Disease is curable, but prompt medical attention is crucial to prevent serious complications.

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