Selfridge Expands Medical Response Team

  • Published
  • By 127th Public Affairs
Command officials here report today that six personnel have been confirmed with a diagnosis of Legionnaires' disease. In addition to the current public health team consisting of the U.S. Army Public Health Command and the Michigan Community Health Department, base officials have extended an invitation to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for additional expertise and assistance.

"The CDC can add additional knowledge and resources that we can use as we work to discover the root cause of this illness," said Mr. John Ambrose, senior epidemiologist on the team. "The CDC personnel will augment local medical and public health professionals who have been investigating the case."

The personnel confirmed with the diagnosis of Legionnaires' disease include one employee of the 127th Wing, Michigan Air National Guard; the others are employees of U.S. Army's TACOM. All are assigned to work at Selfridge ANGB.

"The health and well-being of our people is our number one concern," said Brig. Gen. Michael L. Peplinski, 127th Wing commander. "We have invited the CDC to join our team as we work to ensure that our people are safe."

The CDC will be augmenting representatives from the 127th Medical Group at Selfridge, Military Medical Readiness and Occupational Health Center- Detroit Arsenal, Macomb County Health Department and the team lead by the U.S. Army Public Health Command. Two epidemic intelligence officers (EIS) with Legionnaires' expertise from the CDC are expected at Selfridge Thursday.

Brig. Gen. Peplinski and Major Gen. Kurt Stein, TACOM commander, are meeting daily with the team leaders who are investigating the situation."We are taking this very seriously and continue to listen to our employees' concerns," Stein stated.

The leadership team at both TACOM and Selfridge are continuously utilizing a variety of channels to relay information on the Legionnaires' disease investigation to all employees. This includes getting information to drill-status Guardsmen and Reservists who generally perform two days of duty at the base every month.

Senior leadership and the investigation team are encouraging any employee who may be presenting with flu-like symptoms of cough, chills, body aches, headache or fever to seek medical attention.

People get Legionnaires' disease when they inhale a mist or vapor (small droplets of water in the air) that has been contaminated with the bacterium. It is important to note that not everyone who is exposed will have the same symptoms or diagnosis. A number of diagnostic tests allow a physician to identify the disease and the severity. These tests can be performed on a sample of urine, sputum or blood.

Legionnaires' disease is not contagious and it is important to know the bacterium is not spread from one person to another person.

"If any person on the base has a question about a personal health issue, I strongly recommend that person to check with their physician. Our overriding concern is that our people are healthy and safe," Brig. Gen. Peplinski said.