Legionnaires' outbreak linked to hot tub display kills third North Carolina fairgoer
A CDC microbiologist examines a plate for Legionella growth. (Photo: Courtesy of the CDC)
FLETCHER, N.C. - A Legionnaires' disease outbreak linked to a North Carolina fair has claimed a third life, state health officials say.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Monday that 140 Legionnaires' cases have been confirmed in 19 North Carolina counties and "multiple states" so far. It's not immediately clear which states beyond North and South Carolina were affected.
Officials suspect but have not confirmed that a hot tub vendor display at the Mountain State Fair last month in Fletcher is the source of the deadly outbreak.
The first patient to die was a Buncombe County resident, Health and Human Services confirmed on Sept. 24. But the department said it will not be providing further information on the victims, including age, sex and county of residence.
Legionnaires' disease outbreak: Second death confirmed
"While some cases are continuing to be identified, no cases linked to the outbreak had a symptom onset date more than two weeks after the end of the fair," the department emphasized. The disease's incubation period is about 14 days.
Legionnaires' is a life-threatening respiratory disease that is contracted when people breathe in tiny water droplets contaminated with the Legionella bacteria. Symptoms resemble severe pneumonia and include fever and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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