A fourth person has now died in an outbreak of Legionnaires that has been linked to a hot tub display at a North Carolina state fair last month.
150 people who attended the North Carolina Mountain State Fair became sick along with the four people who died.
At least 133 people were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ while another eight were confirmed to have a milder form of the disease called Pontiac fever according to an update from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
At least 94 people were hospitalized in the North Carolina outbreak.
An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease linked to the North Carolina Mountain State Fair last month has sickened 150 people and left four people dead. Pictured: Legionella bacteria
The fair took place between September 6 and 15 and it appears most people became sick after walking by hot tubs at the Davis Event Center during the second half of the fair.
State officials are encouraging anyone attended the fair last month and are experiencing symptoms to see a doctor.
The sickened patients range between ages 24 and 90 with a median age of 61, according to the DHHS.
Samples taken from the hot tubs on display tested negative for Legionella pneumophila, the bacteria associated with the disease, but the samples were not collected until almost three weeks after the fair had ended and so may not have been completely accurate reports NBC.
The fair took place between September 6 and 15 and it appears most people became sick after walking by hot tubs at the Davis Event Center, pictured
The state’s health department noted that testing was ongoing and that hot tubs have previously been tied to Legionnaires’ outbreaks around the world.
Unlike other illnesses, which are transmitted through person-to-person contact, those with Legionnaires’ disease fall sick by inhaling small droplets of water with legionella bacteria.
Legionnaires’ is a serious lung infection according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The disease can be treated with antibiotics, but about 1 in 10 people who are diagnosed with Legionnaires’ dies, according to the CDC.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ can include coughing, muscle aches, fever, shortness of breath and headaches, the CDC says.
The bacteria can multiply in places such as hot tubs, water tanks and large plumbing systems.
Symptoms develop between two and 14 days after inhaling legionella bacteria. The disease typically begins with a headache, chills, high fever, and muscle pain.
Between 10,000 and 18,000 Americans are infected each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most people recover with antibiotics, but those with weakened immune systems or who have chronic lung diseases can form neurological complications that can be fatal.