Legionnaires' Disease Investigation Under Way at Washington State Motel

The Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department reports three cases with a possible connection to the motel have been confirmed within the past month.

Three confirmed Legionnaires' disease cases and a suspected fourth case that may all be linked to a Super 8 Motel in Lacey, Wash., have prompted a voluntary closure of the motel as the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department conducts an outbreak investigation, according to the department and Seattle Times Health Reporter JoNel Aleccia. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries tweeted July 8 that it is investigating to determine whether any motel worker has been exposed to the disease.

Legionnaires' disease is a serious but treatable form of pneumonia caused by a bacteria, according to the department's July 7 update on the case. In it, the Olympia, Wash.-based department's director, Don Sloma, MPH, and health officer, Dr. Rachel C. Wood, M.D., MPH, recommend that guests, staffers, and contractors of the motel monitor their health for symptoms of the disease for 10 days after last being physically present in the motel. Anyone who is ill should contact his or her health care provider, they recommend, adding that symptoms of Legionnaires' disease include:

  • Fever, tiredness, body aches, and headache
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Diarrhea

People who stayed or worked at the motel are not at risk of spreading Legionnaires' disease to other people, the update states, and the bacteria do not spread from person to person. People get the disease when they breathe in water mist or vapor that has been contaminated with the bacteria.

Those who are higher risk for Legionnaires' disease include people older than 50 and those with certain medical conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and individuals who have lowered immune systems.

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