Press release from Henderson County Department of Public Health:
Cases of Legionnaires’ disease continue to be reported to the Henderson County Department of Public Health. As of 12:30 p.m., Friday, September 27, there are 22 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Henderson County. The case count is updated by 2:00 p.m. on the website at https://www.hendersoncountync.gov/health/page/legionnaires-disease.
Anyone who attended the Mountain State Fair and is sick with symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease, see your health care provider and discuss Legionnaires’ disease with them. If you live in Henderson County and have questions about Legionnaires’ disease, please call the Public Health Hotline at (828) 694-4040 or visit HendersonCountyNC.gov/health.
The investigation of these cases is ongoing. The NC Communicable Disease Branch is working with Mountain State Fair organizers to investigate a possible connection of these cases with attendance at the fair earlier this month (Sept. 6-15th). State Health Officials, event organizers, and Local Health Departments are investigating reports and working to identify a source.
Legionnaires’ disease is caused by Legionella bacteria. It is spread through water droplets in the air that people can breathe in. Legionnaires’ disease is not typically spread person to person.
Legionnaires’ disease causes a severe lung infection or pneumonia. Symptoms may include cough, high fever, weakness, muscle aches, headaches, and shortness of breath. Legionnaires’ disease is treated with antibiotics. Most people who get sick with it need to be hospitalized but recover fully. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 out of 10 people with Legionnaires’ disease will die from the infection.
Most healthy people exposed to Legionella do not become sick but certain people are at increased risk for getting Legionnaires’ Disease including:
Those age 50 or older
Current or former smokers
Those with chronic lung disease like emphysema or COPD
Those with weakened immune systems due to disease or medication