More than 100 people have been infected with Legionnaires’ disease after stopping by a public hot tub display at the North Carolina Mountain State Fair.
The fair, which took place Sept. 6-15 in Fletcher, North Carolina, was the common link among those diagnosed.
So far, 133 cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 94 of which resulted in hospitalizations. Four of those diagnosed with the disease died.
In addition to Legionnaires’, eight people were diagnosed with Pontiac fever after attending the fair. Pontiac fever is a less severe version of Legionnaires’ that typically affects people for only a few days.
Legionnaires’ is much more severe. The Mayo Clinic claimed that the bacteria results in a “severe form of pneumonia” that can be fatal if not treated.
The bacteria Legionella, which is responsible for the deadly disease, thrives in moist conditions such as pools, plumbing systems, and hot tubs. The CDC warned that hot tubs carry the risk of carrying such a disease if not properly sanitized.
Those infected may not have touched the hot tubs, as the bacteria can survive in the moist air surrounding the display.
The disease does not transfer from person-to-person contact, but Legionnaires’ is especially dangerous for the elderly or former smokers who have weakened immune systems.