Outbreak Linked to State Fair
Water rides may be responsible for more than 70 cases of Legionnaires’ Disease
Although HVAC and plumbing systems inside facilities are usually the culprit behind Legionnaires’ Disease, health officials in North Carolina are looking at airborne droplets from water rides as a source for a recent outbreak, CNN reports.
The outbreak, linked to a state fair in Fletcher, North Carolina, has resulted in 79 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ Disease, including 55 hospitalizations and one death. More than half of the cases involve males, and the ages of those affected range from 37 to 90. More than 170,000 people attended the 10-day fair between September 6 and 15.
Water management teams at facilities and special event venues may want to consider routine testing to detect legionella bacteria before it causes an outbreak. If testing reveals the bacteria, management needs a plan to not only remove the legionella from the system, but also to evacuate the facility or venue.