Watauga County Resident Among 116 Confirmed With Legionnaire’s Disease Linked To NC Mountain State Fair

Last Updated on October 3, 2019 9:33 am

A Watauga County resident is among 116 people confirmed with Legionnaire's disease linked to a visit to the North Carolina Mountain State Fair.

State and local health officials are continuing an intensive investigation into an outbreak of the disease in people who attended the fair held Sept. 6–15 at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center in Fletcher, NC, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of bacterial pneumonia (lung infection). A person can develop Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in mist or accidentally breathe water into the lungs that contains Legionella bacteria. Symptoms typically begin two to 10 days after exposure and can include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches. Anyone who attended the fair and has these symptoms should see a doctor right away and talk with them about the possibility of Legionnaires’ disease.

The largest number of cases in a single county, as of the October 1st update, is Buncombe County with 46 confirmed cases. The lone confirmed case of a Watauga County resident is the only confirmed case in the High Country counties.

There has been one reported death from the disease. Below is the breakdown of cases from the October 1st report.

County of ResidenceConfirmed Cases
Buncombe County46
Burke County1
Gaston County1
Granville County1
Haywood County8
Henderson County29
Jackson County1
Madison County6
McDowell County3
Mecklenburg County3
Mitchell County2
Polk County1
Rutherford County2
Transylvania County3* *Previously included suspect cases
Union County1
Watauga County1
Yancey County1
Out of state (SC)6
Case Characteristics 
Male68 (59%)
Female47 (41%)
Median age in years (range)61 (24->90)*
Hospitalizations75 (65%)
Legionnaires' Disease109 (94%)
Pontiac Fever7 (6%)
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