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Outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease sickens 12, kills 1 in Napa County

Outbreak of Legionnaires' disease sickens 12, kills 1 in Napa County

Health officials are investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in California’s Napa County. Photo by Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock

Aug. 4 (UPI) — Health officials in California are investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease which has killed one individual and sickened at the very least 11 others, official said.

Local, state and federal health officials come in Napa County attempting to locate the foundation of Legionella, the bacteria that triggers the serious lung infection, following a dozen residents have became sick with the condition since July 11.

Officials have already been testing cooling towers, decorative fountains along with other human-made water sources for Legionella, and officials said one possible way to obtain the outbreak could be the cooling tower at the Embassy Suites Napa Valley hotel.

Medical officials said an example take from the tower showed high degrees of the bacteria. The tower has since been taken offline, they said.

“Our joint investigation team continues to utilize Embassy Suites staff to remediate the foundation of exposure,” Dr. Karen Relucio, Napa County Health Officer, said in a statement.

“Finding Legionella in a single water sample can be an important little bit of the puzzle, but we should continue steadily to investigate other cooling towers and water sources in the outbreak area, since it is common to get several source.”

Because the outbreak began, 12 individuals were hospitalized with the condition. Officials said one individual older than 50 who experienced severe disease has died.

By Wednesday, three cases stay in hospital, officials said.

Based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Legionnaires’ disease is really a serious lung infection due to the Legionella bacteria, that is found naturally in freshwater environments but may become a health concern when it’s permitted to grow in human-made water systems, such as for example shower heads and faucets, hot tubs and water tanks.

The bacteria spreads via small water droplets which can be inhaled, with those at increased risk include people 50 years and older, smokers and the ones with chronic lung disease and weakened immune systems, it said.

Medical officials are urging Napa County residents experiencing flu-like systems to get hold of a doctor as quickly as possible.

“Although Legionnaires’ disease is really a rare infection, it is a reminder that the bacteria that cause it are normal in nature and will be within manmade water systems,” Relucio said. “This implies it’s very very important to owners and managers of water systems that may create aerosols to do something to avoid Legionella from growing and spreading in water systems.”

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