In a follow-up on the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Hampton, New Hampshire, The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is reporting one additional case since Aug. 31, bringing the total to 15  associated with Ashworth Avenue between Island Path and M Street in Hampton.

Thirteen people required hospitalization and one death has been reported.

Legionella/CDC
Legionella/CDC

As an update on the DHHS order issued to the Sands Resort last weekend, the Sands has hired an environmental consultant to begin the process of remediating the building’s water system this week. DHHS will continue to work with the management and consultant to ensure protection of the public’s health.

Legionella bacteria detected in Sands Resort water system, Order issued

Preliminary environmental culture results from the Sands Resort and other locations sampled during the community investigation are expected to be available in the coming days, but full culture results can take up to two weeks.

The DHHS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Town of Hampton continue to investigate the outbreak.

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Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory infection caused by Legionella bacteria. These bacteria can also cause a milder illness called Pontiac fever. The signs and symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, pneumonia, and sometimes diarrhea and abdominal pain. Pontiac fever has similar symptoms but does not progress to pneumonia. Antibiotics are highly effective against Legionella bacteria.

LISTEN: Legionnaires’ disease: An interview with Dr. Mark Edwards and Sarah Ferrari

Legionella bacteria are commonly found in the environment (rivers, lakes, streams). It is a waterborne disease, usually spread by man-made water supplies that aerosolize water, such as showers, hot water tanks, cooling towers, whirlpool spas, and decorative fountains. People can get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in a mist containing the bacteria. People may also be exposed to Legionella bacteria from water that “goes down the wrong pipe” (aspiration). In general, the bacteria are not spread from one person to another.

People who are at most risk of developing Legionnaires’ disease are those who are older, smokers/former smokers, have a weakened immune system, and those who have other underlying or chronic health conditions.