Two cases of Legionnaires’ disease (LD) have been associated with the Super 8 Motel on Martin Way in Lacey, Washington, according to Thurston County health officials. This illness is caused by breathing in water mist containing Legionella bacteria, which colonize in the lungs and cause a severe form of pneumonia that is often fatal.
There are many questions that need answers. How often were the water systems treated to prevent Legionella growth? What treatments were used and was there another company hired to do this? How often was the water tested for contamination? What were the cleaning procedures, where they followed and why didn’t they prevent this outbreak?
Legionnaires’ disease is a well known risk that is easily preventable. Building owners are responsible for taking measures to prevent this illness. When that does not happen, they should be held accountable, both to compensate people who contracted this disease and to prevent future outbreaks.
The association was made when 2 people who stayed at the hotel were diagnosed with LD. The Thruston County Public Health and Social Services Department has initiated an investigation. This involves collecting water samples from various locations at the motel and testing it for the presence of Legionella bacteria. Hotel and motel whirlpools, showers and air conditioning units have been the source of past LD outbreaks.
Health officials are recommending that guests who stayed at the Super 8 in Lacey within the last 2 weeks monitor their health for the following symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease:
- Body aches
- Chest pain
These symptoms appear between 2 and 10 days (most often 5 to 6 days) after breathing in the Legionella-tainted water mist. Those most at risk are people over 50 and anyone with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, or a medical condition that compromises the immune system.
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For information from the CDC on this illness, click here.