MONTGOMERY COUNTY – There’s currently an outbreak of legionnaires disease in Long Island, New York, and one person has since died from the illness.
Here in the Houston area, there have also recently been cases in Montgomery County, and one of the patients wants more people to be aware of symptoms.
James Balcacer, 22, lives in Willis and works in The Woodlands. He said he mostly goes to work and then home to his family.
However, after July 4, he got incredibly sick with Legionnaires’ disease, which he assumes he must have gotten outside of his home since he was the only person diagnosed.
“Really bad dizziness. I couldn’t walk at all,” Balcacer explained he felt extremely confused and was having hallucinations.
Of course, he was tested for COVID-19 because scans showed he had pneumonia. He didn’t have COVID-19, but however, he said the hallucinations are what led his doctors to the right diagnosis.
“As far as lakes and water and outdoor water stuff, I haven’t been to,” Balcacer claims he doesn’t have a clue where he contracted the illness.
According to the CDC, Legionnaires’ disease is transmitted through water vapors from stagnant water like lakes, a/c units, decorative fountains and spas. Doctors say two to 10 days after exposure, patients may experience high fever, muscle aches and headaches.
Legionnaires’ disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics.
Balcacer said his biggest regret trying to stay home for days before going to the hospital.
“I avoid going to doctors, honestly, and throughout this, I really learned I shouldn’t have. My symptoms probably wouldn’t have been that bad If I probably got treated sooner,” Balcacer said.
For something this serious, the Montgomery County Hospital District is now tasked with contact tracing, which may help them determine the source in order to save others.
However, they said they haven’t had a lot of cases.
According to the hospital district, one case was reported in October, one in August and two in July.