Health officials have linked 124 cases of Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever to a hot-tub exhibit at the North Carolina Mountain State Fair. One person has died as a result of the outbreak, which affected fair workers and attendees of the Sept. 6-15 event at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center. State officials said they found Legionella bacteria in one sample of water taken from the Davis Event Center, where the hot-tub exhibit was held.
“Preliminary findings indicate that people who were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease were much more likely to have visited the Davis Event Center while at the fair and much more likely to report having walked by the hot-tub displays compared to people who did not get sick,” the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement. “Taken together, these early findings suggest that low levels of Legionella present were able to grow in hot tubs or possibly some other source in the Davis Event Center leading to exposure through breathing in aerosolized water that contained the bacteria.” Activities at the event center have been suspended until the investigation into the Legionnaires cases is over.