Health officials: Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in WNC traced to hot tub exhibit at Mountain State Fair

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by: WSPA Staff

Posted: / Updated:

RALEIGH, N.C. (WSPA) – North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and North Carolina Department of Agriculture will be discussing their findings in an ongoing Legionnaires’ disease outbreak investigation in western North Carolina.

As of Tuesday, 124 cases of Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever (a milder form of infection) had been reported and one individual died after attending the NC Mountain State Fair.

The fair was held Sept. 6-15 at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center in Fletcher.

Officials said surveys show the people who were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease were much more likely to have visited the Davis Event Center and walked by the hot tub displays while at the fair. They were also more likely to have visited during the latter half of the fair days compared to those that did not get sick, according to officials.

“Finding Legionella in one water sample is an important piece of the puzzle, but it does not tell us how so many people were exposed at this event,” said Dr. Zack Moore, State Epidemiologist. “To get Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever, you have to breathe in Legionella in aerosolized water, meaning small droplets like mists or vapors.”

According to the release, “findings suggest that low levels of Legionella present were able to grow in hot tubs or possibly some other source in the Davis Event Center, leading to exposure through breathing in aerosolized air…”

Officials will continue to investigate.

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Source:: Daily times

      

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