Legionnaires Disease Outbreak Reaches 11 People and 1 Fatality

Posted September 05, 2018

Most people get better with early treatment, although they may need to be hospitalized.

If you have information or questions about this outbreak, please call the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Public Inquiry Line by calling 603-271-9461.

"We are working hard to identify the exact source of these infections", New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services Director Lisa Morris said.

This is a serious situation since there are no vaccines that can prevent Legionnaires' disease, which is bacterial pneumonia, caused by the Legionella bacteria.

The state plans to give another update Tuesday, after Labor Day.

As a precaution, the DPHS has closed the hot tub spas at the Sands Hotel and the Harris Sea Ranch Motel, though they pointed out the hot tubs no longer present a potential risk to the public and both hotels remain open. This pathogen was discovered in 1976 when it infected more than 200 people and killed 34 because air conditioning vents spread the bacteria through the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia during an American Legion convention.

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Officials wouldn't release details about the fatality, but did say the individual was elderly.

According to reports, Legionella bacteria was found in a hot tub, water heater and shower heads at The Sands Resort on 32 Ashworth Ave.by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of the virus include fever and some other flu-like illness; however, most of the cases develop no symptoms.

People with increased risk of contracting Legionnaires' include those over age 50, current and former smokers, and people with chronic lung disease.

Legionnaires' disease is treated with antibiotics and often requires hospitalization.

The illness, caused by the Legionella bacteria, can lead to pneumonia in people who are at higher risk of getting sick.