HEALTH DISTRICT INVESTIGATING TWO CASES OF
Benton-Franklin Health District is investigating two cases of Legionnaires’ disease in members of Gold’s Gym in Kennewick. The gym is helping in the investigation being conducted by the Health District with the assistance of the Washington Department of Health.
The patients, both local women in their 70s and 80s, have been discharged from the hospital and are recovering. The investigation into the source of the infection is ongoing, but no other commonalities between the two cases have been identified so far.
“We appreciate the response from Kennewick Gold’s Gym when we notified them of the possible connection,” said Rick Dawson, Senior Manager of Surveillance and Investigation. “They acted quickly and decisively to close down the pool and hot tub area in an abundance of caution.”
Samples from the gym will be tested and results are expected in the next couple of weeks. The facility is working with the Health District to ensure the pool and hot tub area is sanitized before reopening.
Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by inhaling aerosol droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria Legionella. Sources of the aerosol can include showers, hot tubs, faucets, cooling towers, misters and decorative fountains. Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria. Most people exposed to Legionella will not get sick; however, it can cause severe illness and sometimes result in death. Generally, people do not spread Legionnaires’ disease to other people. Legionnaires’ disease symptoms are very similar to other types of pneumonia and can include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches.
Symptoms will usually begin within two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria. 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
Anyone with additional questions can contact the Health District at 509-460-4200, Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
More information on Legionnaire’s disease is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/legionella/index.html.
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