Officials: 12 sickened, 1 dead in Hampton, NH Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak

HAMPTON, N.H. (WHDH) - New Hampshire health officials have identified 12 people who have confirmed cases of Legionnaire’s Disease in Hampton, New Hampshire, including an elderly man who died due to complications related to the disease, officials said.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health Services is continuing to investigate an outbreak in the area of Ashworth Avenue of the potentially serious bacterial pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria.

The 12 victims are believed to have acquired their infections between early June and mid-August.

In a statement Thursday, health officials said, “DPHS and experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working diligently to identify a potential source of the bacteria and possible additional cases of Legionnaire’s disease. The majority of cases stayed or resided in the Ashworth Avenue area between Island Path and M Street but may have had other exposures in the area.:

As a precaution, the DPHS has closed the hot tub spas at the Sands Hotel and the Harris Sea Ranch Motel, though they pointed out the hot tubs no longer present a potential risk to the public and both hotels remain open.

Health officials say those most at risk of developing the infection are:

• People with weakened immune systems
• People who take drugs that can weaken their immune systems (after a transplant operation or chemotherapy)
• People with chronic lung disease
• Current or former smokers
• People with underlying illnesses such as diabetes, kidney failure, or liver failure
• People 50 years or older

Although most people exposed to Legionella will not get sick, it can cause severe illness and sometimes result in death.

Legionnaire’s disease is acquired from breathing in small drops of water that contain the bacteria. It cannot be passed from person to person contact and it cannot be contracted by drinking or coming into physical contact with water containing the bacteria.

If you have information or questions about this outbreak, please call the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Public Inquiry Line by calling 603-271-9461. There’s also a CDC webpage dedicated to the outbreak at https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/index.html.

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