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More cases of Legionnaire's disease confirmed



More cases of Legionnaire's disease have been confirmed in New Hampshire, but not all are associated with the Hampton outbreak.

Health officials said two new cases of the disease were reported in Hampton, bringing the total number of cases to 14. In addition, two unrelated cases were reported in Nashua.

Officials said the risk to the public was low, but they acknowledged that this was an unusually high number of cases for the state.

"That's out of the ordinary range," said Flavia Martin, a Nashua health nurse. "We do not usually see many cases."

The Nashua Division of Public Health has identified two cases of Legionnaires' disease, Martin said.

"In Nashua, we saw two cases this August, and we interviewed both cases, and they are not related to those in Hampton," she said.

These cases are also unrelated, Martin said. Officials are still trying to determine where one of the cases was contractually agreed, but they said they confirmed that the second case was taken out of the State Treaty.

Fourteen cases were confirmed in Hampton, and one person who was described by health officials as an older adult from another state has died. Two whirlpools at Hampton Spas were closed as a precaution, but officials said they were still waiting for test results to determine the source of the disease.

Public health officials said that there are seldom so many cases in New Hampshire, but they also believe that the risk to public health is low. The disease is most common at this time of the year.

"Summer time, because of people's activities around water, outside," Martin said. "It's something that's typical for this season, such as in the winter time."

Legionnaire's disease is caused by a bacteria found in water that can enter the lungs when the water is aerosolized and inhaled. It can lead to pneumonia, but it is not contagious, officials said.

"Not human to human, it is not contagious," said Martin. "If you swim in the water, if you can bathe in the water, you can not contract it that way, even if you drink the water, it's not a method of transmission, we're anxious to inhale it."

Officials said the symptoms of legionnaires are similar to cold or flu. They said that such symptoms are more of a concern to anyone who has been in an area where they may have been exposed.

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