One person has died in connection with a Legionnaires' disease outbreak among people who live, work or recently visited Hopkins.
The number of cases related to the Hopkins outbreak, which began in early September, is now 14, up from 12 cases reported earlier this week.
"While it's unfortunate to see a death, we are not surprised that one has occurred in an outbreak of this size," the Minnesota Health Department said Wednesday in a prepared statement. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average death rate in such outbreaks is 10 percent.
A health department official said the person who died was "elderly" but declined to identify the person's age or gender.
Many of those sickened in connection with the Hopkins outbreak are in "very serious condition with underlying health conditions," state health officials said. Those sickened range in age from their 20s to 90s. Most cases have involved people older than 50, said Doug Schultz, state Health Department spokesman.
Health officials said they expect additional cases related to the Hopkins outbreak because the incubation period for the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' can be up to 10 days.
Health Department officials are still trying to determine the source of the disease and are investigating several sources, Schultz said.
Legionnaires' is contracted by inhaling mist from infected water sources such as cooling towers, cooling misters, decorative fountains or plumbing systems.
The bacteria could be present in people's homes, but it's usually at a level that doesn't cause an infection, Schultz said. If the conditions are right, it can multiply in showers, hot tubs or misters at the grocery store, he said. Last year, a person who manned a dishwasher in a restaurant was diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease, Schultz said.
Minnesota generally sees 50 to 60 cases of Legionnaires' each year. This year, 60 cases have been reported around the state.