Legionnaires' disease outbreak hospitalizes almost 100, kills 4 in North Carolina

Henrietta Strickland
October 22, 2019

Legionnaires' disease kills a 3rd person in North Carolina.

State officials are encouraging anyone attended the fair last month and are experiencing symptoms to see a doctor.

Health departments reported roughly 7,500 cases of Legionnaire's disease in the United States in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although that number is likely low since many cases go undiagnosed.

Four people have died from a Legionnaire's outbreak tied to a hot tub display at a North Carolina state fair, according to state health officials.

In all, 133 people were diagnosed with Legionnaires' and another eight were confirmed to have the milder Pontiac fever. Ninety-four people, or about 69 percent, have been hospitalized due to the outbreak.

Samples taken from the hot tubs on display tested negative for Legionella pneumophila, the bacteria associated with the disease, but the samples were not collected until nearly three weeks after the fair had ended and so may not have been completely accurate reports NBC.

The bacteria live in freshwater environments and can become a health concern - as in this case - when it grows and spreads in human-made building water systems. In an October 3 update, health officials said those sickened were more likely to say they walked by the hot tub display compared to those who were not sickened. However, the sample was "genetically different" from clinical samples taken from those affected by the outbreak, they noted. However, they say that they did not collect the samples until 12 to 22 days after the fair ended, and the samples "might not represent conditions during the fair", therefore, "testing is still ongoing".

Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria.

Unlike other illnesses, which are transmitted through person-to-person contact, those with Legionnaires' disease fall sick by inhaling small droplets of water with legionella bacteria.

A previous report determined that the hot tubs were the common thread between each of the patients.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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