The number of cases of Legionnaires' disease associated with an outbreak in Hampton, North Carolina has risen to 14, while two residents of Nashua, N.H., have also contracted the disease, a state health official said Saturday.
The two residents of Nashua who became ill have no connection to the legionnaire canals at Hampton, said Jake Leon, spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. One person in Nashua withdrew the disease from the state and the other had no connection to Hampton.
"It's just a coincidence," Leon said, adding that New Hampshire sees an average of 30 to 35 cases of legionnaires' disease each year.
Most people who have contracted the disease in Hampton are said to have been infected on Ashworth Avenue between Island Path and M Street, a tourist town near the ocean, the state said.
Officials shut down the whirlpool spas at the Sands Hotel and the Harris Sea Ranch Motel in Hampton as a precaution, as the bacteria causing legionnaires thrive in these environments, the state said. Hotels stay open
The people with the Hampton outbreak fell ill between June 1
Officials attempting to identify the potential source of the bacteria sent samples to a disease control center in Atlanta for testing.
Preliminary results are expected in one to two weeks. Healthcare officials plan to submit an update to the outbreak on Tuesday.
The disease is a form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of mist or small drops of water contaminated with Legionella bacteria. This pathogen was discovered in 1976, when it infected more than 200 people and killed 34 because air conditioners spread the bacteria during an American Legion Convention through the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia.
The disease can not be transmitted by persons. (19659002) Pneumonia-like symptoms occur two to ten days after exposure, but government officials recommend that people remain vigilant for 14 days. Symptoms include cough, dyspnoea, fever, muscle aches, and headache
Most healthy people exposed to the bacteria do not get the disease, but about one in ten who suffer from the infection dies of the CDC.
Two years ago, US health officials reported more than 6,100 cases of legionnaires' disease, the CDC said. The agency found that the disease was underestimated and there may have been more cases.
Legionnaire's disease is treated with antibiotics and often requires hospitalization. There is no vaccine.
People at risk of developing legionnaires are people over 50, current and former smokers, and people with chronic lung disease. People who take medicines that weaken their immune system, such as As a chemotherapy, or suffer from underlying diseases such as diabetes, kidney failure or liver failure, are also at greater risk.
Laura Crimaldi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi .