Updated August 15 A Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that includes 12 illnesses and one death may be linked to Embassy Suites Napa Valley, according to the county health department. The illnesses, all reported in Napa County since July 11, were so severe that all of the patients required hospitalization. Three people remain hospitalized, one of them is on a ventilator.
People get Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia, by breathing in water vapor that is contaminated with Legionella bacteria. It is not transmitted from person to person. Legionella bacteria are found in nature but grow best in human-made water sources.
After the illnesses were reported, health officials began collecting samples from human-made water sources, such as cooling towers and decorative fountains. Preliminarily test results found high levels of Legionella bacteria in three places: a cooling tower and decorative fountain at Embassy Suites Napa Valley on California Boulevard in the City of Napa, and a cooling tower at the Hall of Justice on Third Street in the City of Napa.
None of the 12 patients stayed at the hotel. But Napa County Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio said a contaminated cooling tower can disseminate Legionella up to a mile.
The cooling tower has been taken offline and does not pose an ongoing public health risk. Health officials say their work to identify any other possible sources of Legionella continues.
“Although Legionnaires’ disease is a rare infection, this is a reminder that the bacteria that cause it are common in nature and can be found in man-made water systems,” said Relucio. “This means it’s very important for owners and managers of water systems that can create aerosols to take steps to prevent Legionella from growing and spreading in water systems.”
Who is at Risk?
Some people including those over 50, cigarette smokers, and people with chronic lung disease are at elevated risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease. Health officials say any Napa County residents who have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, fever, or shortness of breath should contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Experienced Legionnaires’ Disease Legal Team
Our Legionnaires’ lawyers represent Legionella outbreak victims and their families. They have decades of experience representing clients with Legionnaires’ disease and families who have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one. Our lawyers recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of a man who developed Legionnaires’ disease after a senior living facility in Illinois failed to maintain and clean its water system properly. To request a free consultation with our experienced Legionnaires’ Team, call us at 1(888) 377-8900 (toll-free), text 612-261-0856, or use the form below.
Updated This post was originally published on August 4 and updated on August 15 to include more test results.