The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) has identified four persons with Legionella pneumonia, also known as Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially serious bacterial pneumonia. These individuals likely acquired Legionella at the end of July or early August, in the area of Ashworth Avenue, between Island Path and H Street in Hampton, New Hampshire.

Legionella bacteria Image/CDC
Legionella bacteria

DPHS is investigating possible additional cases. DPHS is also actively investigating the source of these infections, which is usually from 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. It is not spread by drinking or swimming in water.

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While the investigation is underway, in an abundance of caution, DPHS recommends that people who are at increased risk for severe disease from Legionella consider postponing their visit to the area of Ashworth Avenue, between Island Path and H Street in Hampton, New Hampshire.

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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 (after a transplant operation or chemotherapy)
  • People with underlying illnesses such as diabetes, kidney failure, or liver failure

“Legionella is a serious infection,” said Lisa Morris, Director of the Division of Public Health Services. “We want to make sure the public is aware of the potential risk of this disease so that each person can make a decision for themselves about visiting the area in the best interest of their health.”