State health officials issued a warning Tuesday about a Legionnaire's disease outbreak associated with a New Hampshire campground.
The state Department of Health and Human Services said it has identified five people with Legionella pneumonia, commonly known as Legionnaire's disease, who stayed at the Meredith Woods and Clearwater Campground before coming down with the illness between fall 2021 and January 2023.
All five people were hospitalized as a result of their illness but have since recovered. No deaths have been reported, officials said.
State health officials are asking anyone who visited the campground and was then diagnosed with Legionnaire's disease or who knows someone who was to contact them to help inform their investigation.
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The Department of Environmental Services is now working to identify water system contamination at the campground and implement corrective actions to prevent further infections. Legionella bacteria are commonly occurring environmental bacteria that can contaminate water systems. People can become infected from inhaling aerosolized water droplets contaminated with the bacteria from showers, hot tubs, faucets and more.
"Anybody choosing to stay at this facility should be aware of the ongoing outbreak investigation and potential risk for exposure to Legionella bacteria through the facility’s water system,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said in a a statement Tuesday. “We are working with the facility and NHDES to implement a water management plan, prevent further water system contamination, and prevent future Legionella infections. Anybody who has stayed at this facility in the last couple of weeks and develops pneumonia or fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, headache and muscles aches, should talk to their healthcare provider about testing for Legionella infection, which can impact treatment decisions.”
Environmental testing at the campground has shown Legionella bacteria contamination in the water system at several locations, and health officials say additional locations at the site could also be contaminated.
Legionnaire's disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria. Most people who are exposed to it won't get sick, but it is capable of causing severe illness and even death. It cannot be spread from person to person. Symptoms are similar to other types of pneumonia and can include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches. If left untreated, it can be fatal. Symptoms usually begin within two to 14 days of exposure.
Anyone with information or questions about the outbreak is asked to call health officials at 603-271-4496 during business hours or 603-271-5300 after hours.