Hot Tubs at Two Hampton Hotels Closed Following Deadly Legionnaires Disease Outbreak
According to the NHDHSS's website, a total of 15 people have been identified with confirmed Legionnaire's disease, a potentially serious bacterial pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria. Officials say the 15 people likely acquired their infections between early June and mid-August in the Hampton area. Sadly, one of those 15 infected, an elderly person has died due to complications related to Legionnaire's disease.
State authorities and experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working diligently to identify a potential source of the bacteria and possible additional cases of Legionnaire's disease. The majority of cases stayed or resided in the Ashworth Avenue area between Island Path and M Street but may have had other exposures in the area. As a precautionary measure, DPHS has closed the hot tub spas at the Sands Hotel and the Harris Sea Ranch Motel because hot tub spas in general are a known source of the bacteria that causes Legionnaire's. The hot tubs no longer present a potential risk to the public and both hotels remain open.
"We are working hard to identify the exact source of these infections," said Lisa Morris, Director of the Division of Public Health Services. "Even though the information is preliminary, we want to allow the public to make informed decisions about visiting the area and their activities in the area."
Legionnaires' disease symptoms are very similar to other types of pneumonia and can include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches. Symptoms will usually begin within 2 to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria. However, people should watch for symptoms for about two weeks after exposure. People who visited the area more than two weeks ago and have not developed symptoms are not at risk for disease. If an individual visited this area and developed symptoms within 14 days of their stay, they should contact their healthcare provider and seek medical attention.