One person is dead and 11 others have contracted legionnaires disease as the virus spreads in a New Hampshire beach town.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is investigating the legionnaires outbreak in the city of Hampton, and believe all 12 cases occurred between July and mid-August. An elderly adult died due to complications related to the disease.
“We are working hard to identify the exact source of these infections,” Lisa Morris, director of the Division of Public Health Services, said in a press release. “Even though the information is preliminary, we want to allow the public to make informed decisions about visiting the area and their activities in the area.”
Legionnaires disease is a potentially deadly type of pneumonia that comes from the legionella bacteria. The virus does not spread from person-to-person — rather, people contract legionnaires from breathing in the bacteria, often from mist and the water dripping from air conditioning units.
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New Hampshire’s Department of Health closed down two hot tubs at hotels in the area — the Sands Hotel and the Harris Sea Ranch Motel — because of the possibility that legionnaires could spread through the hot tub mist or water.
People with legionnaires disease have symptoms similar to the flu, such as coughing, a fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, chills and more, and the virus is easily treated with antibiotics.
“Federal, state and local authorities are working cooperatively and diligently to address this situation and help mitigate any additional health risks,” Governor Chris Sununu said in a statement. “Through regular communication and transparency, we will ensure members of the public have the most up to date information so that they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”