By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The number of Legionnaires’ disease cases linked to the NC Mountain State Fair continues to grow at a quick pace.


According to North Carolina health officials, as of Tuesday, 116 total Legionella infections have been reported, including 109 cases of Legionnaires’ disease and seven cases of the less serious Pontiac fever.

One death has been reported.

Seventy-five of the cases were reported from two counties–Buncombe and Henderson.

Part of the total (6 cases) were reported in residents of South Carolina.

Legionella bacteria can cause two illnesses which may be considered legionellosis: Legionnaires’ disease, a kind of pneumonia (lung disease), and a milder infection without pneumonia, known as Pontiac fever. These bacteria are found naturally in the environment, usually in wet places like natural bodies of water and moist soil, as well as in man-made water handling systems.

The bacteria grow best in warm water like the kind found in hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, and parts of the air-conditioning systems of large buildings. People get legionellosis when they breathe in a mist or vapor (small droplets of water in the air) that has been contaminated with the bacteria.

The bacteria are NOT spread from one person to another person.

Signs of Legionnaire’s disease can include a high fever, chills, and a cough. Some people may also suffer from muscle aches and headaches. These symptoms usually begin two to 10 days after being exposed to the bacteria. Legionnaires’ disease can be very serious and can cause death. The elderly, those with respiratory conditions, and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk. However, most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics, and healthy people usually recover from infection.

Pontiac fever may also include fever, headaches, and muscle aches, but tends to have a shorter duration — usually two to five days — and symptoms do not include pneumonia. Usually Pontiac fever will resolve on its own without treatment and without further complications.