(UPDATED 9/27/2019) Three laboratory-confirmed cases of Legionnaire’s disease associated with the North Carolina Mountain State Fair have been identified among residents of Transylvania County. Additional possible cases are still under investigation.
As of Thursday, September 26, a total of 53 cases in 10 counties and South Carolina have been reported to the NC Division of Public Health. There have been 42 hospitalizations and 1 death.
State public health officials are working with local public health agencies to identify the source of this outbreak.
People who attended or worked at the North Carolina Mountain State Fair and are experiencing cough, fever or shortness of breath should call your health care provider right away. Be sure to mention that you were at the fair. You should also let them know if you have used a hot tub, spent any nights away from home, or stayed in a hospital in the last two weeks.
ABOUT LEGIONNAIRES’ DISEASE
Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by breathing in tiny water droplets or mist containing Legionella bacteria. Symptoms usually begin 2-14 days afterward. Legionnaires’ disease does not spread from person to person or by drinking water.
Legionella is a naturally occurring bacteria found in fresh water. It can also grow in manmade water systems. Legionella grows best in warm water, and can be found in shower heads, faucets, hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, decorative fountains, and plumbing systems. Home and car air-conditioning units do not use water to cool the air, so they are not a risk for Legionella.
Most people exposed to Legionella do not get sick. The majority who do get sick need care in a hospital but make a full recovery.
People over the age of 50, smokers, and those with certain medical conditions, including weakened immune systems, chronic lung disease or other chronic health conditions, are at increased risk for Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionella bacteria can also cause a less serious illness called Pontiac fever. Pontiac fever is a milder respiratory disease that does not include pneumonia. This form of the disease usually resolves on its own.
For more information about Legionnaires’ Disease, visit https://www.cdc.gov/legionella
For more information about this outbreak, visit https://epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/cd/legionellosis/outbreak.html
View updates from Transylvania Public Health: 9/25/2019, 9/27/2019