Napa County officials are investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease over the past three weeks, which sickened 12 people, killing one of them.
Serious lung infections are caused by exposure to contaminated water or mist, and most outbreaks are linked to cooling towers, which are part of an air-conditioning system that emits mist. Without proper cleaning, the ideal environment for cooling towers can be created legionella bacteria to grow.
Public health officials said Wednesday that tests found high levels of bacteria in samples taken from the cooling tower at the Embassy Suites Napa Valley hotel in downtown Napa. legionella possible in the area.
“The cooling tower has since been taken offline, minimizing any ongoing risks to public health,” officials said.
Officials said three of the 12 people who fell ill since July 11 are hospitalized. The person who died was over 50 years of age and had risk factors for serious illness.
Public health officials said none of the patients, who are all Napa County residents, stayed in or visited the Embassy Suites Napa Valley.
Officials said investigators from Napa County Public Health, the California Department of Public Health and the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to identify any additional sources of water that may contain unsafe amounts of bacteria.
Napa County Health Officer Dr. Karen Reluccio said: “Our joint investigation team continues to work with Embassy Suites staff to pinpoint the source of the risk.” “find” legionella A water sample is an important piece of the puzzle, but we must continue to investigate other cooling towers and water sources in the outbreak area, as it is common to find more than one source.
Officials are warning county residents and people living or working in Napa who have flu-like symptoms, cough, fever or difficulty breathing, to contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Officials said Legionnaires’ disease is caused by breathing in aerosolized water containing the bacteria and is not transmitted from person to person. If caught early, it can be treated with antibiotics.
Apart from coming from cooling towers, water droplets can be produced by hot tubs, cooling misters, decorative fountains and plumbing systems, officials said.
Residents can prevent bacteria from growing in their homes by flushing taps and shower heads if they haven’t been used recently, and by cleaning, disinfecting and maintaining all equipment that uses water, officials said. he said.