A bacteria named Legionella was discovered in Illinois Capitol Complex hot water system, according to an official from the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

Mike Wojcik, director of physical services for the Secretary of State’s office Monday said that there could be a possible bacterial spread in the water supply. However, he did assure that the department was not aware of any reports of the Legionnaire’s disease spreading either among state employees or the general public.

Wojcik also told NBC 5 News: “Out of an abundance of caution and because of heightened awareness and continued misconceptions about Legionnaires’ disease, we want to make you aware of preliminary test results that indicate the possible presence of Legionella bacteria in the Capitol Complex hot water system.”

Legionella is a "Gram-negative bacteria" that includes a species called species L. pneumophila which causes an illness known as "legionellosis,  including a pneumonia-type sickness called Legionnaires' disease and a mild flu-like illness called Pontiac fever". 

According to an article on National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website, this kind of bacteria is common in various environments including soil and aquatic systems, however, the bacteria is not transmissible from person to person and not everyone who is exposed to it becomes ill.

Legionella bacteria which causes the Legionnaires' disease is a respiratory infection that causes symptoms such as coughing, fever and chest pain. The fatality rate for Legionnaires’ is around 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Survivors usually suffer from long-term effects like concentration problems, fatigue, and pain, according to Legionella.org.

The bacteria was named after an outbreak of a then-unknown "mystery disease" which had sickened 221 people and caused 34 fatalities. The outbreak was first witnessed by people attending the American Legion, an association of U.S. military veterans in 1976. The causing agent was then "identified as a previously unknown bacterium subsequently named Legionella" on Jan. 18, 1977. 

As of now, Wojcik has confirmed that more testing was underway and the results about the contamination would be available in the next two weeks.

In a fairly similar incident in October 2016, the bacteria that causes the Legionnaires’ disease was found in four different locations at Dallas Fort-Worth Airport. Reports stated that the testing for the bacteria began after an employee complained about feeling sick. After the tests were conducted, Legionella was found in the water supply at four American Airlines maintenance hangars.

To prevent the bacteria from spreading any further, American Airlines had installed filters in the hangar’s shower heads and sinks and provided bottled water. "Nothing is more important than the safety and health of our employees," American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said at the time. 

Another deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak was witnessed in the New York City in 2015 when an air conditioning cooling tower in the Bronx left 119 infected and 12 dead.

The United States alone witnesses as many as 5,000 cases every year.