People attending a state fair in Western North Carolina are asked to visit a doctor immediately if they feel unwell after several legionnaires' illnesses were reported Tuesday in Buncombe, Henderson and Haywood counties, according to health officials . As of Sept. 24, there were nine confirmed cases of Legionnaires' illness in Buncomb County residents, including one caused by the disease, health officials said. Buncomb and Henderson Health Departments and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services are investigating multiple legionnaires' illnesses reported by persons attending NC Mountain State Fair, DHHS State spokesman Kelly Heath said Connor. the disease is reported there. The fair was held September 6-1
People attending a state fair in Western North Carolina are asked to see a doctor immediately if they feel sick after several legionnaires' illnesses reported Tuesday in Buncombe County, Henderson and Haywood, according to health officials.
As of September 24, there are nine confirmed cases of Legionnaires' illness in Buncomb County residents, including one fatal disease, health officials say.
The Buncombe County and Henderson County Health Departments and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services are investigating multiple legionnaires' disease cases reported by persons attending the NC Mountain State Fair, DHHS State Kelly Kelly Conner said.
The first cases were reported in Henderson County, then at the end of Tuesday the health of Haywood County officials confirmed that they were investigating a case of a reported illness.
The fair is held September 6-15 in the town of Fletcher.
"We still do not know if humans may have been exposed to Legionella bacteria at the NC Mountain State Fair," said state epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore. "As a precaution, we recommend that anyone who goes to the fair and has symptoms of pneumonia, such as coughing, fever or shortness of breath, consult a doctor immediately and talk to them about Legionnaires' disease."
Legionnaires "The disease is a form of bacterial pneumonia or lung infection. One can develop Legionnaires' disease when breathing fog or accidentally swallowing water in the lungs containing Legionella bacteria.
More than 150 cases of Legionnaires' disease are reported in North Carolina every year, Connor says. Symptoms usually begin two to 10 days after exposure and may include coughing, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches. Legionnaires' disease is a serious illness but can be treated effectively with antibiotics.
Most healthy people exposed to Legionella bacteria do not become ill, officials said.
People with the highest risk of Legionnaires' disease include people 50 years of age or older, current or former smokers, and those with chronic lung disease or a weakened immune system.
Legionella bacteria naturally occur in the environment. These bacteria can become a health concern as they grow and spread in human-created water systems, such as hot water tanks, air-conditioning cooling towers, decorative fountains, and hot tubs or spas that are not properly maintained.
People who have attended the NC Mountain State Fair and experience coughing, fever or shortness of breath should call their healthcare provider immediately.
For more information or to report possible legionnaires' illnesses, the public is asked to call the Public Health Division at (919) 733-3419 or contact your local health authority.
In Buncombe County, call (828) 250-5109.
In Henderson County, call (828) 694-6019.
Learn more about Legionella bacteria and Legionnaires' disease on the CDC website.