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Minnesota health officials investigating cases of Legionnaires' disease at Albert Lea hotel

Two people who stayed at hotel recently tested positive for the disease, one of whom remains hospitalized. "If you spent time at the hotel between June 22 and June 29 and are ill now, or if you develop illness in the two weeks following your visit, please see a health care provider to be evaluated for possible Legionnaires’ disease," Kris Ehresmann, director of the infectious disease division at the health department said in a statement.

Minnesota Department of Health logo.jpg
Minnesota Department of Health logo
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ST. PAUL — Minnesota health officials are investigating cases of Legionnaires' disease linked to a hotel in Albert Lea, Minn.

The state Department of Health on Friday, July 9, said two cases of the disease have so far been confirmed among two unrelated groups that stayed at the Ramada by Wyndham Albert Lea in late June. Both groups used the hotel pool and hot tub areas, the health department said, which is believed to be the source of the disease.

The hotel is working with the health department, according to a news release, and has closed the pool to guests. The hot tub has been closed since June 29 for maintenance.

Legionnaires' disease can take up to 14 days to fully incubate, according to health department, and may present in additional hotel guests. Most people exposed to the bacteria that causes the disease do not develop it, the health department said, but older adults and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk.

"If you spent time at the hotel between June 22 and June 29 and are ill now, or if you develop illness in the two weeks following your visit, please see a health care provider to be evaluated for possible Legionnaires’ disease," Kris Ehresmann, director of the infectious disease division at the health department said in a statement.

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Legionnaires' disease cannot be spread from person to person, according to the health department, but spreads through fine spray emitting from water sources containing Legionella bacteria. Spas have been linked to Legionnaires' outbreaks in the past due to their higher temperatures and ability to aerosolize water.

A form of bacterial pneumonia, Legionnaires' disease can cause symptoms including fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and coughing. Because it can be severe, the health department said, prompt diagnosis and antibiotic treatment is important.

Both of the hotel guests confirmed to have Legionnaires' were hospitalized, according to Friday's release, one of whom has since been discharged. The health department is investigating other possible cases linked to the hotel with symptoms reportedly similar to those of Legionnaires'.

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