New Hampshire

2 Additional Legionnaires’ Disease Cases Confirmed in NH

Public health authorities in New Hampshire now say 14 people have been identified with Legionnaire's disease and at least one person has died.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Public Health Services said Thursday that 12 people likely acquired Legionella at the end of July or beginning of August in a localized area of Hampton. Health officials said they were still trying to identify the source of the infection and had closed several hot tub spas in the area as a precaution.

Friday afternoon, health officials confirmed two additional cases.

Legionnaire's disease is a bacterial pneumonia spread by inhaling droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria.

With officials investigating the outbreak of the disease along Ashworth Avenue in Hampton, businesses in the area can't help be concerned how it will impact their bottom line on one of the last summer weekends.

Doug Bymark who does maintenance work at one of the hotels said he has unlimited overtime right now cleaning all the air conditioners from the inside out.

"From the first day it became news, we had cancellations right from the get-go," Bymark said. "What happens if someone contracted from the hotel? That would be a negative business for the hotel."

Some area residents, however, say the warning of the disease is being blown out of proportion.

"It sounds to people who aren't from around here that there's something wrong with the ocean or the beach itself and it isn't," said Hampton resident Collen Doyle.

New Hampshire averages about 32 cases of Legionnaires' disease each year. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 6,100 cases in 2016.

Officials ask members of the public who have developed symptoms, which include coughing, shortness of breath, fever and headaches, to contact the state health department at 603-271-9461.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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