Legionnaires’ disease cases linked to local hotel

(Photo by Neal Klaeser)
(Photo by Neal Klaeser)(KWTX)
Published: Jul. 26, 2018 at 10:16 AM CDT
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The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District has issued a Control Order to the Fairfield Inn and Suites Waco North at 4257 North Interstate 35 in Lacy Lakeview after two people who stayed at the hotel this month were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, health officials said Thursday.

Health officials are requiring the hotel to notify all guests and staff of the risk of the disease and to allow an environmental investigation of the building to identify the risk of growth of the Legionella bacteria in the water system and to determine possible sources of water contamination.

“Cases are often associated with large or complex water systems. Legionella can grow if a water system is not properly maintained,” health officials said in a press release Thursday.

“The infection is caused by breathing in a mist or vapor containing the bacteria. The most likely sources of infection include potable water, cooling towers for air conditioning systems, decorative fountains and hot tubs.”

“Although a direct source for the disease has not been determined at this time, it is important that all guests are notified of any potential risk while staying at the Fairfield Inn and Suites,” health officials said.

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia that rarely spreads from person to person.

The hotel has been flagged twice in a little more than a year for health violations.

In May 2017, the Waco-McLennan County Health District closed down the pool at the Fairfield Inn in Lacy Lakeview after members of a local family who stayed there became ill after taking a swim.

The family members developed fever, coughs, chills, and body aches and went to a local emergency room to be treated.

They filed a complaint with the health district.

Public records show an inspector flagged the hotel for several violations including a ladder that was missing a step, low alkalinity levels, and not having an acceptable operating

In August 2017, the health district issued a control order against the hotel after four cases of Legionnaires' disease were reported by guests from October, 2016, to August 17, 2017.