Rare Bay Area Legionnaires’ outbreak kills 1, sickens 12

A rare Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in North Bay has resulted in one death and numerous hospitalizations, Napa County health officials said Tuesday.

Since July 11, 12 people in the county have been “sick and hospitalized” with the deadly form of pneumonia, often linked to a contaminated hot water supply.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of this individual, and our thoughts and condolences go out to the family. We share our concern for everyone affected by this outbreak,” said the Napa County Public Health Officer. , Dr. Karen Relucio, in a statement.

The location of the outbreak is not yet clear. The identity of the deceased person has also not been revealed. SFGATE has contacted the county for further details, but has not heard back as of press time.

This is the first death in Napa County from the disease in several years, the county said.

In May, an outbreak of legionnaires was linked to a luxury Hilton hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii. No deaths were reported during this outbreak.

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by exposure to Legionella bacteria. The disease was named after the first identified outbreak, in 1976 at the American Legion’s three-day annual convention at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia.

The bacteria can contaminate water tanks, shower heads and hot tubs and is spread by breathing in mist that contains the bacteria. There is no vaccine for Legionnaires’ disease – cases are usually treated with antibiotics. Flu-like symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, muscle aches and high fever.

According to the CDC, one in 10 people who become ill with Legionnaire’s disease die due to high fever and fluid buildup in the lungs that can make it difficult to breathe.

Although there are approximately 10,000 cases of Legionnaire’s disease in the United States each year, outbreaks only occur “sporadically” and are investigated to identify the source, which is often the system. complex water from a large building, according to the CDC.

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