Psychiatric hospital patient tests positive for Legionnaires' disease

SEATTLE -- A patient at Washington state's largest psychiatric hospital has tested positive for Legionnaires' disease.

The patient had recently been transported from Western State Hospital to a local hospital in Lakewood with symptoms of pneumonia, and tested positive for the disease. That's according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Social and Health Services.

Legionnaires' is a respiratory disease caused by the Legionella bacteria. Its symptoms are often more severe than pneumonia. It's especially dangerous for people who are older, or have a chronic lung disease or a weak immune system.

It's spread through water systems or by breathing small droplets of infected water. The hospital's medical officer says it's not spread through person-to-person contact.

The local health department is testing the hospital's water system.

Hospitals where two other Western State Hospital patients are being treated for pneumonia have been notified of the positive Legionnaires' test result.