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Missouri Department of Health Alerts People of Legionella Bacteria

The Missouri Department of Health alerts the people staying in the Bethany, Missouri, hotel to be exposed to Legionella bacteria. In mid-July, the health department notified that a person diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease had stayed at the Quality Inn & Suites in Bethany. They are not aware whether the hotel was the source of the bacteria that caused the person to become sick.

The Missouri Department of Health said testing of water from the pool, spa and water system indicated the presence of Legionella bacteria. The Quality Inn & Suites is currently closed to allow for disinfecting and maintaining all the facility’s water systems. People can get Legionnaires’ disease, a serious type of pneumonia, by breathing in small water droplets containing Legionella bacteria.

People do not spread Legionnaires’ disease to other people. The health department said symptoms begin two to 10 days after being exposed to the bacteria, but it can take longer. People should watch for symptoms for about two weeks after exposure. The Missouri Department of Health also added that those who develop symptoms of pneumonia within two weeks of staying, working, or visiting the Quality Inn & Suites in Bethany, should seek medical attention.

The Public Health Department said 10 cases of the disease, which often causes pneumonia, have been identified since mid-June, all within a large area east of downtown Montreal. Dr. David Kaiser, head of environmental and population health, said legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory infection that can be caught by breathing in small droplets of water suspended in the air that is contaminated with the legionella bacteria. Public health is still working to identify the source of the infections and has examined water-cooling towers in the area.

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