January 31, 2012
Legionnaires’ Disease Appears At Luxor Hotel, One Dies
The Southern Nevada Health District announced that three guests from the Luxor hotel have contracted Legionnaires´ disease since early last year. Two cases recovered but one guest recently died as a result, reports Jackie Valley of the Las Vegas Sun.
Legionnaires´ disease, a form of pneumonia, can cause high fever, chills, cough and occasional muscle aches and headaches. Symptoms typically occur two to 14 days after being exposed to the bacteria. The disease takes its name from an outbreak at the Pennsylvania American Legion convention held at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia in 1976.
After the first two cases were discovered, local health district officials collected bulk water samples from the Luxor for an environmental assessment. The water samples did not detect Legionella bacteria, indicating the resort´s water did not pose an increased risk to guests for contracting the disease, officials said. Both patients fully recovered.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the third, ultimately fatal case to the health district Jan. 6 of this year, officials said. The patient stayed at the Luxor in December and contracted the disease later that month, said Brian Labus, a senior epidemiologist at the health district.
Another environmental investigation was instigated after the death, finding the Luxor water samples tested positive for Legionella bacteria, officials said. MGM Resorts International, owners of the Luxor immediately began a remediation process including superheating and super-chlorination of the water system after the bacteria was discovered, AP is reporting.
MGM Resorts spokesman Gordon Abshert says, “We are confident in the integrity of our systems and the safety protocols we follow at all our hotels. Guest and employee safety is always a top priority at our company. Even before last summer, MGM Resorts led the industry with aggressive and stringent programs to control Legionella issues common to all large buildings.”
The Legionella bacteria can usually be controlled with chlorine and other water treatments, but large buildings are at risk for the bacteria becoming established in the pipe system and growing, explains Brian Labus, a senior epidemiologist at the health district.
Health officials said most people exposed to the bacteria do not get sick, but people who are elderly, have chronic illnesses, a compromised immune system or respiratory disease are at higher risk. No other cases have been reported so far, authorities said.
On the Net:
- Southern Nevada Health District
- Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas
- MGM Resorts International
- Image Courtesy Andy Z. / Shutterstock