Fifth case of Legionnaire's disease confirmed in New Hampshire

Fifth case of Legionnaire's disease confirmed in New Hampshire

Hampton Beach (Wikimedia Commons)

A fifth case of Legionnaire's disease was identified on Monday, days after four other cases were reported in Hampton, New Hampshire, according to the NH Department of Health and Human Services.

The department said the case is part of the same cluster location as the previous four who were diagnosed with Legionella pneumonia, also known as Legionnaire's disease..

The four previous cases are all out of the hospital and are recovering at home, the department says.

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The infection is commonly contracted by inhaling aerosol droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria.

Sources for infection can include showers, hot tubs, faucets, cooling towers, misters and decorative fountains. It is not spread by drinking or swimming in water.

Officials are recommending people who are at increased risk for severe disease from Legionella to stay away from the affected areas.

Those at increased risk 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," Lisa Morris, Director of the Division of Public Health Services, said “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.”

Most people exposed to Legionella will not get sick, however, it can cause severe illness and sometimes result in death, but cannot be spread from person to person.

Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches and usually begin within 2 to 10 days after exposure to bacteria. However, symptoms could develop up to two weeks after exposure.

If you or someone you know have visited the affected area within the last two weeks and developed symptoms, you should contact your health provider.

For more information on Legionella, you can visit the CDC's page here.