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Las Vegas Rio Hotel Guests Contract Legionnaires’ Disease

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Last week, Nevada health officials announced that two guests who stayed at the Las Vegas Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino contracted Legionnaires’ disease. KHOU explains that the disease is “a type of bacterial pneumonia, which causes coughing, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches,” and it can be fatal.

The two guests with confirmed cases stayed at the hotel in March and April. Once officials tested the hotel’s water, they discovered that the whole water system was infected.

If the name of the disease sounds familiar, you might recall the story of how the illness was discovered and named in 1976. As the New York Times tells it, a short while after the the American Legionnaires finished up their state convention in Philadelphia in the 70s, several of the men passed away. Others fought for their life ICU. At first, doctors couldn’t out what was causing the suffering, and the public greatly feared an epidemic as the disease made headlines across the nation. It took six months to figure out the cause of the illnesses – the bacteria now called Legionella pneumophilia.

According to the Legionella.org, Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious, and it’s treated with strong antibiotics. Anywhere from 10,000 to 18,000 cases are reported every year in America.