Legionnaires’ disease claims 2nd victim linked to Mountain State Fair


Asheville Citizen Times

Published 11:05 p.m. ET Oct. 10, 2019 | Updated 11:05 p.m. ET Oct. 10, 2019

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In light of the recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in New York City, here are five facts you need to know about the disease.
USA TODAY

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – State health officials have confirmed a second death in an outbreak of Legionella bacteria that has infected more than 100 people who attended a North Carolina fair last month.

Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health confirmed 134 cases of Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac Fever in people who attended the 2019 N.C. Mountain State Fair, which took place Sept. 6-15 at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center in Fletcher.

Eighty-eight people have been hospitalized.

Personal information, including the victims’ location of residence, ages and genders, was not released.

“We send our sincerest condolences to the families of the two people who have died and to all those who have been affected by this outbreak,” said Dr. Zack Moore, state epidemiologist. “Legionnaires’ disease is a serious illness which can lead to complications and death, especially in older individuals or those with underlying conditions.”

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While officials have not yet confirmed a source for the deadly bacteria, officials have pointed to a hot tub display as the most likely culprit.

“The preliminary epidemiologic and environmental findings suggest that exposure to Legionellabacteria occurred in the Davis Event Center of the WNC Ag Center, particularly near the hot tubs and during the last five days of the fair,” the health department release stated.

Hot tubs are a well-established source of aerosolized water exposure and have been associated with previous Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks nationally and internationally.

“These results highlight the importance of caring for and maintaining equipment that can aerosolize water,” according to the release. “There were no other significant sources of aerosolized water at the WNC Ag Center and no other ongoing potential sources of exposure identified.”

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