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Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak Discovered at Hotel in Grantville, Pa

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Sep 11, 2012 05:31 PM EDT

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Comfort Suites
The Comfort Suites in Grantville, Pa is dealing with an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease.(Photo : Wikimedia)

The Comfort Suites hotel in Grantville, PA is dealing with an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease. Hotel guests may have come down with a case of the disease which has led to an investigation of the hotel.

Guests who stayed at the Comfort Suites hotel in Grantville have contracted Legionnaires' disease. Recent hotels guests have been notified as an ongoing investigation takes place. It is unclear how many guests have been affected so far.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection are leading the investigation. In a test of the water conducted on August 23, officials found that the hotel's water system tested positive for Legionella, the bacteria that causes the disease.

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The hotel is working with the health departments to clean the water system and to develop a plan to prevent future Legionella outbreaks. Guests have been advised to seek medical attention if they become ill and to report the illness to health departments.

Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia that comes from Legionella bacteria which live in warm water. The bacteria can be breathed in from water particles in the air. Symptoms start to show two weeks after exposure and include a high fever, headache and chills. This then develops into pneumonia-like symptoms, such as a cough, chest pain or shortness of breath.

Between 8,000 and 18,000 people are infected with Legionnaires' each year in the U.S., according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most people exposed to Legionella do not become sick, but between five and 30 percent of cases are fatal.  

Recently, the JW Marriott in downtown Chicago also had a Legionnaires' disease outbreak which resulted in three fatalities.

Quebec City in Canada is also dealing with a Legionnaires' disease outbreak. At least 169 people have been infected since July and 11 have died. City officials believe it stems from cooling towers around the city.



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