Legionnaire’s disease outbreak in Hampton, NH has residents on edge

HAMPTON, N.H. (WHDH) - Four cases of Legionnaire’s disease have been identified in Hampton, New Hampshire, health officials announced on Saturday.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said in a release that four people in the area of Ashworth Avenue, between Island Path and H Street, have acquired the potentially deadly bacterial pneumonia, Legionella, sometime between the end of July and start of August.

The DPHS is investigating the source of these infections. Common sources involve inhaling aerosol droplets of water from showers, hot tubs, faucets, cooling towers, misters and decorative fountains.

Legionnaire’s disease is not spread through drinking or swimming in water.

“Legionella is a serious infection,” said Lisa Morris, Director of the Division of Public Health Services. “We want to make sure the public is aware of the potential risk of this disease so that each person can make a decision for themselves about visiting the area in the best interest of their health.”

Out of an abundance of caution, DPHS asks that people who are at an increased risk of contracting this disease avoid the area.

Those who are at higher risk of getting sick are those over 50, current and former smokers, those with chronic lung disease, weakened immune systems and other underlying illnesses.

Legionnaires’ disease symptoms are very similar to other types of pneumonia and can include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches.

Symptoms will usually begin within 2 to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria. However, people should watch for symptoms for about two weeks after exposure.

If you have information or questions about this outbreak, please call the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. A public inquiry phone line is available to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., including over the weekend, by calling 603-271-9461, or for those calling from within the state of New Hampshire, toll-free at 1-800-852-3345 ext. 9461.

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