NC officials confirm 4th death from Legionnaires’ outbreak

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FLETCHER, N.C. (WSPA) – North Carolina health officials say a fourth person has died from an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease linked to a hot tub display at the North Carolina Mountain State Fair, which is held at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center.

We’ve also learned another person, who did not attend the N.C. Mountain State Fair, was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ after attending a quilt show that was held inside the same building as the hot tub exhibit. That building is the Davis Event Center.

7 News spoke with folks who have been impacted by the outbreak.

“We were like ‘Oh no, I hope nobody gets sick,'” Larry Phillips said.

Larry Phillips attended the North Carolina Mountain State Fair–an event tied to at least 140 cases of Legionnaires. He said two people he knows, including his uncle, got sick after the fair.

“They didn’t actually have Legionnaires’, but they had respiratory problems that did come out of it,” he said.

Even so, Phillips was back at the WNC Agricultural Center on Friday to help host his club’s annual Antique Tractor Show.

And while everything appeared to be business as usual, Phillips was concerned as another person was just diagnosed with the disease and didn’t attend the fair. Instead, they were at a quilt show held at the WNC Agricultural Center two weeks later.

“Anytime there’s an outbreak of something, it’s always going to have a thing in the back of your mind that says ‘I don’t know if I want to do this or not,'” he said.

The Davis Event Center has since been closed; but health officials say it’s possible the source for the newest case of Legionnaires’ may not have been at the WNC Agricultural Center.

“There are other possible exposures that this person had, so it’s hard. At this point, we can’t pinpoint,” Jennifer Mullendore with Buncombe County Health and Human Services said.

According to a statement by the WNC Agricultural Center, the hot water system in the Davis Event Center, and every other building on the grounds, went through a disinfecting process as a precautionary measure.

“They did some cleaning and doing some real hot high-powered water through the water system here, and so we do have a clean bill of health,” Phillips said.

It’s unclear at this time when the Davis Event Center will re-open.

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