NC reports 4th death from Legionnaires’ disease outbreak

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Four people are now dead in connection with an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease from a fair in western North Carolina in September.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the fourth death on Friday.

A total of 141 cases of the disease have been reported in the state.

DHHS believes the current outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease is tied to a hot tub display at the WNC Fair which was held at the Western North Carolina Ag Center Sept. 6–15.

Health officials began to investigate after an increased number of Legionnaire’s cases were reported in Henderson and Buncombe counties Sept. 23.

On Thursday, the Health Department reported a case of the disease from someone who didn’t attend the Western North Carolina Fair in Fletcher.

That person visited a quilt show at the Western North Carolina Ag Center two weeks after the fair.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include fever, cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms can be very similar to the flu or other respiratory infections that are common at this time of year. It is important to talk to your doctor if you have these symptoms to determine whether testing or treatment for any of these infections might be needed. 

Legionella bacteria was found in one of six samples taken from the Davis Event Center at the WNC Ag Center, DHHS said.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recommended and supervised an extensive industrial cleaning of the WNC Ag Center water system. Legionella was not found in follow-up testing of samples collected on Oct. 4 and 7. 

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