ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Six Chaves County residents have developed confirmed cases of Legionnaire’s disease since early October, and two have died, state health officials said Thursday.
The bacterial illness sickens a few New Mexicans each year, but an outbreak of six patients within two months is unusual, said Chad Smelser, medical epidemiologist for the New Mexico Department of Health.
New Mexico typically has fewer than 10 cases a year, he said, “and we certainly don’t have this many cases in a short period of time.”
Health officials are investigating possible sources of the Legionella bacterium, which has killed two women, ages 65 and 69. The other four patients are recovering, but some have been hospitalized, he said.