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Second Ford employee dies of Legionnaires'

A second employee of a Ford Motor Co. casting plant has died of Legionnaires' disease.

David Hinderman, who had been hospitalized Tuesday, died Friday night of an infection secondary to Legionnaires' disease, Cleveland Clinic spokesman Mark Cohen said, adding that the family asked that no other information be released.

Donald Tafoya, 61, died March 9, and at least two other employees of the Cleveland Casting Plant have contracted the disease.

The plant has not been confirmed as the source of the outbreak, but it has been closed since Wednesday night while water samples were taken and areas were disinfected.

A cooling tower, a large tank of steam-producing water that is part of the plant's heating system, was identified as one possible source.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected water samples from the plant, said Dr. Beverly Blaney, a Ford industrial physician. She said it will take 10 days to determine if the bacteria is the same strain that infected the workers.

Plant manager Tom Thieman said Ford plans to reopen the plant, which employs 2,500 workers, with the first shift Monday.

Legionnaires' disease is a form of pneumonia that is spread through inhalation of mist from contaminated water. It does not spread from person to person. It was identified at a 1976 American Legion convention.

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