State officials confirm 2nd death in Legionnaires’ outbreak in NC mountains

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services confirmed a second death in a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak traced back to the N.C. Mountain State Fair, according to a Thursday news release.

There have been 134 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac Fever and 88 people have been hospitalized.

NCDHHS did not identify the two who died. However, family of a South Carolina woman who died said she had contracted Legionnaires’ and had attended the N.C. Mountain State Fair.

“We send our sincerest condolences to the families of the two people who have died and to all those who have been affected by this outbreak,” said Dr. Zack Moore, State Epidemiologist. “Legionnaires’ disease is a serious illness which can lead to complications and death, especially in older individuals or those with underlying conditions.”

An earlier release said preliminary findings led health officials to believe people diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease likely visited the Davis Event Center while at the fair and are even more likely to have reported walking past the hot tub displayed, the release said.

“Finding Legionella in one water sample is an important piece of the puzzle, but it does not tell us how so many people were exposed at this event,” said Dr. Zack Moore, State Epidemiologist. “To get Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever, you have to breathe in Legionella in aerosolized water, meaning small droplets like mists or vapors.”

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