The North Carolina Health Department has released its final report on the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Mountain State Fair held September 6 -15, 2019.  Legionnaires disease, a severe form of pneumonia, is transmitted when water droplets contaminated with Legionella bacteria are inhaled. North Carolina health officials determined that a hot tub display inside the Davis Event Center, the only significant source of aerosolized water at the fair, was the source of the outbreak that sickened 135 fairgoers. Ninety-six people were hospitalized, four of them died.


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Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include headache, muscle aches, fever, shortness of breath and cough. They usually develop within two to 14 days of exposure. Legionnaires’ disease usually requires treatment in a hospital, about 10 percent of all cases prove fatal.

This outbreak included residents from 17 North Carolina counties and four other states. The median age was 61. Fifty-seven percent were male. Sixty-seven of the patients visited or worked at the fair on multiple days.

Legionnaires lawyer- Mountain State Fair Legionnaires' Outbreak Epi Chart

Hot tubs are a common source of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. Careful maintenance and good water management plans can prevent outbreaks, said Fred Pritzker, a Legionnaires’ disease attorney whose national law firm 36 people sickened in this outbreak.

The final report on the outbreak states that it is likely that regular airflow dispersed the water vapor contaminated with Legionella throughout the facility. The Davis Center uses a high-efficiency ventilation system that recirculates air. The review of cases showed that not all of those who became sick went near the hot tub display, but all of the case-patients entered the Davis Event Center at some point during their time at the fair.

Legionnaires' attorney interior of a hot tub

Pritzker Hageman Legionnaires’ disease lawyers have two decades of experience representing people who have been sickened by Legionella bacteria and families who have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one. If you or a loved one are part of this outbreak, call us for a free consultation at 1(888) 377-8900 (toll-free), text 612-261-0856 or use the form below.

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