An outbreak in Napa County of the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease has been traced to two other sites, the county said Thursday.
Legionella is a bacterium that can cause illness when inhaled and can be found in sprayed water such as fountains, hot tubs, and air conditioning units in large buildings.
We’re already dealing with COVD-19 and monkeypox, and now there’s another disease that has health authorities concerned that caused the death of a man in Napa. Yomara López explains.
Thirteen people have been diagnosed with legionellosis that they contracted in Napa County and one person has died since July 11. Currently, 10 people have recovered from the illness and two remain in the hospital, the county said.
On August 3, the county announced that a cooling tower at the Embassy Suites Napa Valley hotel was to blame for part of the outbreak. Now the county has also discovered “high levels” of the bacteria in a decorative pond at the Embassy Suites. The county also identified the cooling tower at the county Hall of Justice in Napa City as a hotspot.
Dr. Israel de Alba, a doctor at UC Irvine, explains in more detail what Legionella disease is.
As of Thursday, cleaning and sanitizing of the Hall of Justice is complete, the county said. The building is now believed to present “low risk” for the presence of the bacteria, but the county will continue to monitor the situation and send samples to an independent lab for analysis. Results are expected in seven to 14 days.
Dr. Karen Relucio of the county health department also said the county has taken proactive steps to test cooling towers in other buildings.
Legionnaires’ disease is not spread from person to person and is contracted by inhaling small droplets of water that contain the bacteria. Symptoms include cough, fever, or shortness of breath. If caught early, health officials say it can be treated with antibiotics.