[BLOWING ROCK, NC] – AppHealthCare (Appalachian District Health Department) has been notified of three confirmed cases of Legionnaire’s disease in persons who stayed at or visited the Meadowbrook Inn & Suites during the 10 days before illness onset; all were treated and are recovering. AppHealthCare is currently investigating to identify potential sources of exposure to Legionella bacteria in these three cases. No definite source of exposure at the hotel or elsewhere in the community has been identified.
Legionnaire’s disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused by breathing in mist or vapor (small droplets of water in the air) that contains Legionella bacteria. These bacteria live in water and are found naturally in the environment. Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious; you cannot catch it from other people.
Symptoms of illness caused by Legionella bacteria include high fever, chills, cough, fatigue, muscle aches and headaches. Symptoms usually begin 2 to 14 days after being exposed to the bacteria. Most healthy people who are exposed to Legionella do not become ill. However, some people are at higher risk of becoming ill, including people who are smokers, older, or have chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems from certain medications or other chronic health problems. If you developed any combination of these symptoms, we encourage you to see your doctor. Most cases can be successfully treated with antibiotics.
Meadowbrook Inn & Suites has a comprehensive water management program in place, which includes regular maintenance of the pool and spa to prevent exposure to Legionella and other potentially harmful bacteria. Following the identification of three ill persons who had visited the hotel in the two weeks before they became ill, the staff have continued to work with AppHealthCare to conduct environmental assessments and ensure the safety and health of their guests and patrons.
We encourage clinicians to consider including testing for Legionnaire’s disease in the evaluation of patients who present with a clinically compatible illness and no other identified etiology from April 15, 2016 through present day. Whenever possible, testing for Legionnaires’ disease should include culture of lower respiratory secretions on selective media and the Legionella urinary antigen test. Clinical isolates of Legionella are valuable for comparison with environmental samples while conducting Legionnaires’ disease investigations.
For more information, please see the attached fact sheets from North Carolina Division of Public Health and CDC. Also see the following website for more information:http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/diseases/legionellosis.html.