NC fair takes precautions against Legionnaires’ disease

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina fair is moving to guard against an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease similar to one that occurred at another fair last month.

A spokeswoman for the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem says officials have banned the use of mist fans and are telling fairgoers they cannot bring hand-held mist fans. The fair opened on Friday.

Spokeswoman Siobhan Olson says the fair is following guidelines established by the N.C. Department of Agriculture. Olson also says the fair’s lone water ride will be disinfected daily, and drinking fountains will be available for fairgoers inside a building adjacent to the fairgrounds.

State health officials say more than 120 people have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after attending the Mountain State Fair in Fletcher last month.

Health officials say hot tub displays inside a building at a fair are likely to blame for the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said on its webpage Thursday that early findings show that people diagnosed with the disease likely visited the Davis Event Center at the Mountain State Fair last month and walked by the hot tub displays.

According to the department, early results from laboratory testing of environmental samples identified Legionella bacteria in one water sample taken from the event center. Results are still pending from other samples taken in the investigation.

The department says 124 cases of Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever had been reported as of Wednesday.

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