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State health department warns of Legionnaires' detected at Macon hotel

2 individuals diagnosed with disease this month used hot tub and/or pool at Comfort Inn & Suites in last week of March
Credit: AP

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, collaborating with the Macon County Health Department, is advising recent guests of a Comfort Inn & Suites in Macon, Missouri, of possible exposure to Legionnaires' disease from the use of the pool and/or hot tub, or from being close by.

DHSS determined that two individuals diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease this month had used the hot tub and/or pool at the Comfort Inn & Suites at 1821 N. Missouri St., during the last full week in March. It is unknown whether the hotel was the source of the bacteria that caused the two people to become sick. 

Testing of the hot tub indicated the presence of Legionella bacteria; all other test results were negative. People can get Legionnaires' disease, a serious type of pneumonia, by breathing in water droplets containing Legionella bacteria. In general, people do not spread Legionnaires' disease to other people.

“In situations like this, we work closely with our local health partners on surveillance and mitigation strategies,” said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director. “Upon detection of a patient with Legionnaires' disease, this includes appropriate public notifications and implementing disinfection strategies at the identified source.”

DHSS is working to prevent more people from becoming sick by conducting an investigation and monitoring the facility to implement any needed public health safeguards. Risk to those who used the pool and/or hot tub, or were in the room where they're located during the previous 14 days may be greater for those who are 50 or older, smoke cigarettes or have certain medical conditions, such as a weakened immune system.

If you develop symptoms of pneumonia within two weeks of staying at Comfort Inn & Suites located in Macon, seek medical attention right away.

Pneumonia symptoms typically include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches. Additional symptoms may be present, such as confusion, nausea or diarrhea. Ask your doctor to test you with both a urine test and a respiratory culture. If you test positive, ask your doctor to report your illness to your local or state health department as soon as possible after your diagnosis.