Old Town woman hospitalized with Legionnaire’s disease

The Maine CDC is investigating four recent cases of Legionella in Bangor.
Donna Webber (left)
Donna Webber (left)(Randy Webber Sr.)
Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 5:40 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A woman from Old Town is in the hospital struggling to fight off what’s commonly known as Legionnaires’ disease

The Maine CDC is investigating four recent cases of Legionella in Bangor.

For the family of Donna Webber, it’s something they never could have imagined.

“There wasn’t really much hope at the beginning it seemed like. We definitely did not expect it at all but it’s scary. It was a lot of symptoms like a cold, the flu, COVID, stuff like that,” said her daughter, Destiny Webber.

On Sunday, Donna Webber woke up with body aches and symptoms similar to the flu.

After spiking a 105 degree fever, her daughter Destiny says she was rushed to the hospital.

Donna was diagnosed with Legionnaire’s disease, which comes from Legionella bacteria.

“It can cause Legionnaire’s disease, which involves infection of the lungs, which can lead to Pneumonia, which can lead to other things,” said Dr. Ganesha Santhyadka, a pulmonologist at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

The Maine CDC announced Thursday that three other cases had been confirmed in the Bangor area.

Santhyadka says Legionella bacteria are typically found in freshwater environments.

They can also be found in man-made water systems,

It becomes a health concern when they grow and spread through things you might have around the house.

“In the summertime it’s a little bit more because of the use of air-conditioning, the water sources being the culprit here and then late fall cases can be increased,” Santhyadka said.

Santhyadka says Legionnaire’s disease is treated with antibiotics and is not spread from person to person.

Destiny says this week they got the good news that Donna would be okay.

“When she went into the hospital she was only breathing 10% oxygen so she definitely took some big steps from there to now but I believe as of now the ventilator is out and she’s just having a little bit of support as needed,” Webber said.

Santhyadka says Legionella is something they regularly screen patients for if they have the right symptoms.

To prevent the spread, the CDC recommends flushing water heaters, and cleaning shower heads and humidifiers regularly.

Destiny says they still aren’t sure where Donna could have picked up the bacteria, but they’re just thankful she’s still here.

“You don’t really think much of it until it happens to someone that you love and she’s normally the one that keeps us all together,” Webber said.

The Webbers have set up a GoFundMe to help with expenses.

For more information on Legionella you can visit the Maine CDC’s website.

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