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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, June 26, 2015
Art Starry, Environmental Health Division Director, at (360) 867-2587 or StarryA@co.thurston.wa.us
Chris Hawkins, Public Health & Social Services Dept. at (360) 480-7109 or HawkinC@co.thurston.wa.us

County Health Department Investigating Two Cases of Legionnaires' Disease
Local hotel being tested for presence of bacteria that causes illness

Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Rachel Wood reported today that two individuals recently diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease appear to have a connection with a Thurston County-area hotel. Health officials have initiated an investigation that involves getting environmental samples to try to determine the source of the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease.

Two people who recently stayed at the Super 8 Motel on Martin Way in Lacey have contracted Legionnaires' disease, which is a serious form of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria that is found naturally in the environment, usually in water. Hotel whirlpools, showers, and air conditioning units have previously been shown to be sources of Legionnaires' disease outbreaks. People get Legionnaires' disease when they breathe in the mist or vapor of water that has been contaminated with the bacteria. The bacteria are NOT spread from one person to another person.

As the county's health department continues its efforts to find the source of the bacteria, Dr. Wood recommends that guests who stayed at the motel within the last two weeks monitor their own health for the symptoms listed below, and if they become ill, contact their health care provider.

Symptoms of Legionnaires' disease include:
  • Fever, tiredness, body aches and headache
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Occasionally diarrhea

Additional actions or precautions are not necessary at this time. Symptoms of the illness appear between two and 10 days after exposure to the bacteria, and most often appear five to six days after exposure. Persons at increased risk for Legionnaires' disease include those over 50 years of age and those with certain medical conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and those with lowered immune systems. Further information on the disease can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/legionella.

Additional information about Legionnaires' disease and the cases connected to Thurston County is available on the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services information line at (360) 867-2500.



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3