August 11, 2009

Legionnaries’ kills Chicago electrician

Workers at two Chicago Transit Authority facilities have been notified of a colleague's death from Legionnaires' disease, authorities said.

Robert Pierce, 37, a transit authority electrician, died Sunday at Edward Hospital in Naperville of pneumonia he developed as a complication of the disease, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

Pierce most recently worked at CTA facilities at Midway Airport and at another Southwest Chicago location, CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney said.

An estimated 800 workers at the two facilities were notified of Pierce's illness and about how Legionnaires' disease is transmitted, Gaffney said.

The disease cannot be transmitted from person to person. Because the bacteria that causes the disease is waterborne, vehicle-washing equipment at both facilities where Pierce worked had been shut down after his diagnosis July 28, Gaffney said. The source of Pierce's illness had yet to be determined.