Several guests of the Luxor resort in Las Vegas have been sickened with Legionnaires’ disease. Although two of three sickened patients have recovered, one died.
The initial two cases were reported early last year; collected samples and assessment did not reveal the Legionella bacteria, said KTNV. It was through the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) that the health district was made aware of the cases. To date, the Southern Nevada Health District has received three reports of people diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease; all three were guests at the Luxor. The third case, just reported, involved a patient who died. The health district collected samples and tested, and said that sampling results were positive for Legionella bacteria, said KTNV. The Luxor, said KTNV, has collaborated with the health district and initiated a remediation process in compliance with it ongoing water management system.
“Obviously our hearts go out to the guest who passed away and to their family. It’s never good news to receive a notification like this,” Gordon Absher, Vice President of Public Relations for MGM Resorts International told Action News. “Our company and our hotels have some of the most steadfast, vigilant water management systems anywhere in the industry,” added Absher.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) said that there are approximately between 10,000 – 50,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported in the United States annually, according to KTNV.
“What we typically see in Las Vegas is it’s in the hotel rooms, often faucets and showers. They’ll sit unused for a certain amount of time [then] you turn [them] on and it kicks this stuff up into the air,” Brian Labus, senior epidemiologist for the Health District told KTNV.
Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by inhaling Legionella bacteria that grows in hot tubs, air conditioners, and decorative fountains. Symptoms are headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, phlegm-heavy cough, chest pain, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, and mental changes, like confusion. Symptoms can show up as long as 14 days following exposure and the disease can cause infections in wounds and other body parts, including the heart. Complications may include respiratory failure, kidney failure and septic shock. Legionnaires’ disease is not spread through person-to-person contact.
The Mayo Clinic describes Legionnaires’ disease as a severe form of pneumonia, which, if left untreated, can be fatal. Older adults, smokers, and people with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible. The disease usually clears up with treatment, but some victims will continue to experience problems. The CDC says that Legionnaires’ disease proves fatal in 5-to-30 percent of the cases.