A fifth case of Legionnaires’ disease has been found in Texas.
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of atypical pneumonia caused by any type of Legionella bacteria. This deadly disease can lead to severe cough, shortness of breach, extremely high fever, muscle pains, nausea and vomiting, and headaches. The symptoms of this disease usually begin to show two to ten days after exposure, and it can be particularly dangerous for the elderly.
The Legionella bacterium is primarily found in water and can breed in hot water tanks, cooling towers, hot tubs, pools, and air conditioners.
According to KAGS, the first few patients with Legionnaires’ were found to have contracted the disease from swimming in a pool or hot tub at the Round Rock hotel in Williamson County, Texas.
According to a study conducted by Pool and Spa Marketing, there are more than 7.3 million hot tubs in the United States. Also, roughly 21.23 million people live in a home that has a pool. Although Legionnaires’ disease is quite rare, it’s still recommended that homeowners have their pools and hot tubs cleaned at least once a week.
“With Legionnaires’ Disease, one case is certainly an emergency. One case,” said John Teel, Executive Director of the Williamson County and Cities Health District. “It can take a while for that [the fact that infected individuals were in the hotel building] to get back to the county that they were infected, and a lot of times — it’s never known where they were infected.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that Legionella spreads and multiplies once inside a building water system. Individuals should beware of pools and hot tubs that were infected, but people can also get the disease by simply breathing in small droplets of water in the air that contain the Legionella bacteria.
The CDC’s list of people who are at an increased risk of getting sick from exposure to Legionella include:
- People who are 50 years old or older.
- Current and former smokers.
- People with chronic lung diseases like emphysema.
- People with weak immune systems.
- Cancer patients or anyone undergoing chemotherapy.
- People with other serious health conditions like liver failure, kidney failure, or diabetes.
Talk to your doctor or local health department if you believe you or anyone close to you were exposed to Legionella. You should especially seek immediate medical attention if you develop any severe symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease, including high fever, chills, or intense cough.
“If anybody has stayed at [that location] form id-September until yesterday [October 5], they need to be on the lookout for pneumonia or flu-like symptoms. If they have those symptoms, they need to seek medical help immediately,” Teel added. “This is a dangerous illness.”