Multiple cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported by people who attended NC Mountain State Fair

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BUNCOMBE COUNTY, NC (WSPA) – Buncombe County and Henderson County health departments, along with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, are investigating multiple cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported by people who attended the North Carolina Mountain State Fair in Fletcher earlier this month.

According to the news release, the fair was held in Fletcher on Sept. 6-15.

“We don’t yet know whether people might have been exposed to Legionella bacteria at the NC Mountain State Fair,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore said. “As a precaution, we are recommending that anyone who went to the fair and has symptoms of pneumonia, like cough, fever or shortness of breath, see a doctor right away and talk with them about Legionnaires’ disease.”

According to the release, Legionnaires’ disease is a “form of bacterial pneumonia (lung infection). A person may develop Legionnaires’ disease where they breathe in mist or accidentally swallow water into the lungs that contains Legionella bacteria.”

“In North Carolina, more than 150 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are reported each year. Symptoms typically begin two o 10 after exposure and can include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches. Legionnaires’ disease is a serious illness but can be treated effectively with antibiotics. Legionella bacteria can also cause a milder flu-like illness called Pontiac fever, which resolves without treatment.”

According to the release, the people at highest risk of the disease includes people 50 years or older, current or former smokers, and those with chronic lung disease or a weakened immune system.

People who attended the NC Mountain State Fair who are experiencing cough, fever or shortness of breath should call their health care provider right away.

To report possible cases of Legionnaies’ disease, call the Division of Public Health at 919-733-3419 or call your local health department.

In Buncombe County, call 828-250-5109 or in Henderson County, call 828-694-6019.

To learn more about Legionella bacteria and Legionnaires’ disease, click here.

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