An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in North Carolina has killed at least one person and sickened dozens of others, state health officials said.
As of Sept. 30, at least 97 people were sickened with the disease, while 63 were hospitalized, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Though officials are still investigating the source of the outbreak, many of those sickened reported attending the North Carolina Mountain State Fair in September. Officials are urging anyone who attended the fair and is experiencing symptoms of Legionnaires’ to see a doctor.
“Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia,” according to the Mayo Clinic, which explains pneumonia as an inflammation of the lung that is typically caused by an infection.
“You can’t catch Legionnaires’ disease from person-to-person contact. Instead, most people get Legionnaires’ disease from inhaling the bacteria,” the Mayo Clinic adds, noting that older adults, those who smoke, or those with a compromised immune system are the most susceptible.
Legionella pneumophila, a bacterium, is usually the cause of the illness. It can be found in soil and water, but more commonly causes infection when it multiplies in water systems (e.g., hot tubs and air conditioners).
The disease is treatable with antibiotics, and those who are sickened typically recover in full. Symptoms often include fever, chills, cough, and shortness of breath.
The news comes after health officials in Georgia this past August responded to a massive Legionnaires’ outbreak linked to a hotel in Atlanta. At the time, a state health official told Fox News that the Legionella outbreak was the largest ever recorded in Georgia.