Legionella Found in Water at Las Vegas Resort

The Southern Nevada Health District has received reports that three guests who stayed at the Luxor Resort were diagnosed with Legionnaires disease. The health district was informed of these cases through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s national surveillance system.

The first two cases were reported in the spring of 2011. At that time the health district conducted an environmental assessment and collected bulk water samples from the Luxor. Results of the water samples did not detect Legionella bacteria and the environmental assessment indicated guests were not at increased risk of contracting Legionnaires disease at that time. Both patients have recovered from their illness.

The third case was reported to the health district in January 2012. At the time of the report, the patient was deceased. Based on this latest report the health district initiated a new epidemiological and environmental investigation. At this time environmental sampling was positive for Legionella bacteria. The Luxor has been working cooperatively with the health district to implement and complete a comprehensive remediation process in accordance with recommended guidelines. To date, no additional cases of disease have been reported.
Legionella bacteria exist in fresh water and are commonly found throughout the environment. Legionnaires disease is a form of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria. Symptoms include high fever, chills, cough, and some people may also suffer from muscle aches and headaches. Because these symptoms occur in many other forms of pneumonia, appropriate testing must be conducted in order to make an accurate diagnosis. Symptoms usually begin within two to 14 days after being exposed to the bacteria. Guests who stayed at the Luxor recently and believe they are having symptoms are encouraged to consult their doctor.

We want to reassure the public that all the appropriate steps are being taken to remediate the water system and we continue to work proactively and cooperatively with the staff and management of the Luxor, says Dr. Lawrence Sands, chief health officer for the Southern Nevada Health District.

Between 8,000 and 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaires each year in the United States. Many infections are not diagnosed or reported, so this number may be higher. The disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics; however, it can be very serious and cause death in up to 5 percent to 30 percent of cases. Approximately 20 percent to 25 percent of reported Legionnaires cases are travel-associated and travel histories are routinely sought during case investigations.

Additional information on Legionella is available on the Southern Nevada Health District website, www.SNHD.info, or by calling the health districts information line, (702) 759-INFO (4636) or toll-free (866) 767-5038.