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Legionnaires’ Disease Shuts Down Ford Plant

Ford Motor Company has temporarily closed a casting plant in suburban Cleveland after authorities confirmed three workers there contracted Legionnaires' disease.

“We are cooperating fully with public health authorities in their efforts to identify the source of the bacterium Legionella, whether inside the plant or at another location,” the company said in a statement.

Last week, a worker from the Brook Park, Ohio plant died of pneumonia, Cuyahoga County health commissioner Timothy Horgan said, and health officials are checking whether it was related to the outbrake of Legionnaire’s disease.

Horgan said Ford closed the plant in Brook Park Wednesday night to test and disinfect the plant after the third case was confirmed. He said two of the victims remained hospitalized, and one worker had been treated and released.

Legionnaires' disease is an acute, respiratory bacterial infection. An outbreak of the disease in Philadelphia in 1976, largely among people attending a convention of the American Legion, led to its name.

The disease is usually spread through mist that comes from a water source, such as cooling towers, air conditioning or showers.

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