NC officials confirm new case of Legionnaires’ disease in person who did not attend state fair

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This 1978 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Legionella pneumophila bacteria which are responsible for causing the pneumonic disease Legionnaires’ disease. In a report released Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said annual cases of Legionnaires’ jumped more than fivefold from 2000 to 2017, and that as many as 70,000 Americans get the disease every year. High-profile recent outbreaks occurred in Atlanta and Flint, Michigan. (Francis Chandler/CDC via AP)

RALEIGH, NC (WSPA) – Public health officials reported a new case of Legionnaires’ disease on Thursday.

They say the person did not attend the Mountain State Fair, but was present at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center after the fair ended.

According to officials, the diagnosed person attended the Quilt Show, which was held at the Agriculture Center Sept. 27–29.

This case is the only one of Legionnaires’ disease in an individual who did not attend the NC Mountain State Fair, but was at the Agriculture Center after the fair ended on Sept. 15.

That person’s identity will not be released, officials said.

The department previously reported 140 cases of Legionnaires’ in 19 North Carolina counties and “multiple states.” It says in addition to the three deaths, 94 people have been hospitalized.

“We don’t know how or where this person might have been exposed to the Legionella bacteria,” said Dr. Zack Moore, State Epidemiologist. “It is possible that they were exposed at the WNC Ag Center, but Legionella bacteria are very common in the environment so we can’t rule out exposure in another location.”

Preliminary findings suggest that exposure to Legionella during the Mountain State Fair occurred in the Davis Event Center, particularly during the last five days of the fair.

The investigation is ongoing.

Officials have not identified any other reports in people who were at the Agriculture Center after the Mountain State Fair ended.

Out of an abundance of caution, officials recommended and supervised an extensive industrial cleaning of the Agriculture Center water system.

Legionella was not found in follow-up testing of samples collected on Oct. 4 and 7, officials said.

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