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Legionnaires’ Disease Causes Shutdown of Round Rock Hotel

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An Austin Newspaper reported that a Round Rock extended-stay hotel was closed last week after three guests and one employee contracted Legionnaires’ disease, reports John Teel, the executive director of the Williamson County and Cities Health District. The three guests who got the bacterial infection, which is spread through water systems, all stayed at the hotel this summer and have recovered, Teel said. All of them had been in the hotel’s hot tub or sat near it and breathed the mist. One of the guests stayed at the hotel in June, one was there in August, and one was there in late August and early September, reports Teel

What Is Legionnaires’ Disease?

hot tub

Photo: Flickr/Thomas Hawk

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia. It’s caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila found in both potable and nonpotable water systems. Each year, an estimated 10,000 to 18,000 people are infected with the Legionella bacteria in the United States.

According to The Mayo Clinic, Legionnaires’ disease doesn’t spread from person to person. Instead, the bacteria spreads through mist, such as from air-conditioning units for large buildings. Adults over the age of 50 and people with weak immune systems, chronic lung disease, or heavy tobacco use are most at risk. Many people exposed to the bacteria don’t develop symptoms. Those who do develop symptoms may experience cough, fever, chills, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headaches, and diarrhea.

Legionnaires’ disease acquired its name in July 1976, when an outbreak of pneumonia occurred among people attending a convention of the American Legion at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. Of the 182 reported cases, (mostly men) 29 died. There is currently no vaccine for Legionnaires’ disease. Prevention depends on good maintenance of water systems and treatment of Legionnaires’ disease is with antibiotics.

SpringHill Suites in Round Rock Hopes to Reopen Soon

Legionnaires' disease
Photo: Pixabay/davidlee770924

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