Health officials investigate two cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Las Vegas

Photo by royaltystockphoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus; St. George News

LAS VEGAS – The Southern Nevada Health District is investigating two cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported in guests who stayed separately at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, in March and April. The hotel is assisting in the investigation and taking steps to provide information to past and current guests of the property.

In response to the initial illness report, the property arranged for environmental testing of its water system. Facility testing results did indicate a presence of the Legionella bacteria, and the property initiated the appropriate remediation response of chlorine disinfection.

Upon report of the second case, water sampling found the bacteria throughout the system. The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino and the Health District are working together to conduct remediation and follow up sampling to ensure remediation efforts are effective.

Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by inhaling aerosol droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria. Sources of the aerosol can include showers, hot tubs, faucets, cooling towers, misters and decorative fountains. Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria.

Most people exposed to Legionella will not get sick; however, it can cause severe illness and sometimes result in death. Generally, people do not spread Legionnaires’ disease to other people.

Legionnaires’ disease symptoms are similar to other types of pneumonia and can include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches. Symptoms will usually begin within two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria. However, people should watch for symptoms for about two weeks after exposure.

Guests who stayed at the Rio more than two weeks ago and have not developed symptoms are not at risk for disease. If guests of the property develop symptoms with 14 days of their stay, they should seek medical attention.

People who are at increased risk of getting sick include:

  • People 50 years or older.
  • Current or former smokers.
  • People with chronic lung disease.
  • People with weakened immune systems.
  • People who take drugs that can weaken their immune systems, such as after a transplant operation or chemotherapy.
  • People with underlying illnesses such as diabetes, kidney failure or liver failure.

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