Legionnella infects two at Minnesota hotel
Woman hospitalized, man dead, following exposure to deadly bacteria at Albert Lea Ramada hotel
Two people contracted Legionnaires’ Disease disease after visiting a hotel pool and spa in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has identified two confirmed cases at the Ramada by Wyndham in Albert Lea, Minnesota, during the last weekend of June.
Both guests spent time in the pool and hot tub area, when they became ill, requiring hospitalization.
According to the MDH, additional people were exposed to the Legionella bacteria and became ill.
Lexy Munkberg posted on social media that her mother, Lori Haler, had been diagnosed with the disease. She said that her mother and mother’s boyfriend had both been in the hot tub.
“They stayed in the Ramada hotel, in Albert Lea, from the 27th to the 29th, and she started getting sick after she returned,” Munkberg said.
Haler sought treatment at the Albert Lea Mayo Clinic, where she was diagnosed with a viral infection, given antibiotics, and sent home.
On the morning of July fourth, Haler awoke to find her boyfriend dead on the floor. At press time, the cause of death had not been released.
Shortly thereafter, Munkberg said her mother began experiencing severe weakness and required help walking.
This led to difficulty breathing and
Jennifer Hatfield is a government relations consultant for the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance, and an advocate on behalf of the pool and spa industry at every level of government. She believes in regulations that include science-based reasoning. See story on page 13. hospitalization where she received dialysis and was placed on a ventilator.
Munkberg posted on July 17 that her mother had been taken off the ventilator and seems to be improving.
MDH said they are working with the hotel to determine the source of the bacteria. At press time, they believe the source of infections originated at the hot tub that, along with the pool, has been closed to the public.
Department of health staff are working with the hotel on recommendations to clean and decontaminate the spa and pool area.
MDH investigators are concerned that other cases may still emerge. “If you spent time at the hotel between June 22 and 29, and are now ill, or if you become ill within two weeks of your visit, please see a health care provider to be evaluated for possible Legionnaires’ Disease ,” said Kris Ehresmann, director of the infectious disease division at MDH.
Legionnaires’ Disease is spread by inhaling the aerosolized Legionella bacteria from water sources such as hot tubs, showerheads, decorative fountains, and cooling towers. It tends to grow in biofilm within plumbing systems, which is not easily penetrated by most disinfectants.
Legionnella is not spread from person to person. The time between exposure to the bacteria and the onset of symptoms can be up to 14 days.
Legionnaires’Disease is a severe form of pneumonia with lung inflammation caused by the infection. Symptoms of the disease include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, and coughing.
Most people exposed to the bacteria do not develop the disease, but people over the age of 50 or those with compromised immune systems and smokers are at an increased risk. This disease was first discovered in 1976 after an outbreak in Philadelphia infected more than a hundred people.
On July 21, 1976, the American Legion opened its annual three-day convention at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 2,000 Legionnaires attended the convention. It was after this event when the first outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease occurred. (Wikipedia) Photo credit philadelphiaencyclopedia.org.