Man with Legionnaires' disease fighting for life

Man with Legionnaires' disease fighting for his life

Hopkins, Minn. - A Twin Cities man is fighting for his life after contracting Legionnaires’ disease.

“As each day goes on it gets more difficult for all of us,” said Karmin Stanley Butler. Her son, Joe, is in the intensive care unit at North Memorial Medical Center, fighting the disease.

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious form of pneumonia contracted through bacteria in water that's breathed in. Joe Butler, 29, is one of nine people who contracted it while in Hopkins.

“We wouldn't be surprised if we continue to see cases into next week from people who were exposed even before we discovered this cluster,” said Rich Danila, of the Minnesota Department of Health.

The agency is trying to find the exact source of the outbreak and is looking at businesses such as Supervalu, Thermotech and an outdoor fountain at Cargill. Also, cooling towers and misters. Danila says he hasn't ruled anything out.

“We think the risk right now is no greater in Hopkins than anywhere else in Minnesota. I don't think people should be concerned,” said Danila.

”We don't know if he can hear us. We hope that he can and senses our support,” said Karmin Stanley Butler.

As she are her family wait for answers from MDH, she hopes her son Joe will pull through.

“Everybody who knows him knows he's a fighter and he's got a strong will,” said Butler.

“He will get through this,” said Cora Butler, Joe’s sister.

Joe doesn't have health insurance, so his family has set up an online fund to help pay for his medical bills.

If you'd like to help, click here.


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