A 90-year-old Indiana woman has died from
Legionnaires? disease after swimming in an Illinois
The woman, whose name and hometown has not been
released, was one of two confirmed cases in the Lincoln,
Ill., outbreak at a Best Western Inn.
The hotel closed its pool and spa by order of the
Illinois Department of Public Health after they tested
positive for a bacteria that causes Legionnaires?
disease. Both confirmed cases were out-of-state guests. One
stayed at the hotel in mid-January, and the other stayed in
mid-February. Both were hospitalized and on
Another 150 guests reported illness, but have not been
confirmed. At least 900 former guests are being
Investigators concluded the disease spread because there
was no chlorine residual in the water. The state ordered
the hotel to drain and clean the pool and spa, as well as
change the filters.
Legionnaires? disease is contracted by inhaling
mist or aerosol from a water source contaminated by the
bacteria Legionella pneumophila. It is not
communicable from person to person. The bacteria tend to
grow in warm water, including hot tubs, large plumbing
systems and air conditioning systems of large
Infection by the bacterium usually leads to Pontiac
fever, but more severe versions cause pneumonia. The common
symptoms include fever, chills and coughing. In addition,
some patients experience muscle aches, headaches, fatigue,
loss of appetite, and diarrhea. Most cases can be treated
successfully with antibiotics.
In response to five reported Legionnaires?
disease outbreaks in the United Kingdom between 2000 and
2005, the nation?s Health Protection Agency issued
a new guidance for domestic and commercial owners of hot
tubs. The agency stated that if owners and operators follow
the set guidelines, they will prevent diseases such as
Legionella from surviving in the water. In
addition, operators should inform users of precautionary
measures, which include showering before entering and not
immersing their heads underwater.