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Five more cases of Legionnaire's disease in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Milwaukee has recorded five more cases of Legionnaire’s disease, bringing the total number to 19 in the city since June 1st.

At least three dozen people in southeast Wisconsin are confirmed to have had the legionella bacterium, after inhaling some type of infected mist or water vapor.

The new total raises the number of Wisconsin cases to over 40 for the year.

At first, Milwaukee health officials thought they identified clusters of Legionnaire’s cases – but disease control director Paul Biedrzycki now says the cases involve different strains.

Also, as the number of cases grew, he said geographic connections disappeared – all of which points to multiple sources of the disease.

Biedrzycki has still not figured out what those sources are. He says the most likely explanation is that water for cooling towers became infected, while the owners of large buildings waited longer than usual to use those towers for their air conditioning.

The late start to summer has reduced the demand for AC this year, compared to the extremely hot summer of 2012.