‘Thrown under the bus’: NH motel upset with investigation into deadly Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak

HAMPTON, N.H. (WHDH) - A motel in Hampton, New Hampshire, has taken steps to sterilize its property after many guests in recent weeks were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease. Meanwhile, an upset motel owner says the outbreak is a community-wide problem, not an isolated issue.

Health officials confirmed last week that a hot tub at the Sands Resort was the source of the summer outbreak, which killed one person and sickened 18 others.

The bacteria was also found in the motel’s water heater, outdoor shower hose, as well as sinks and shower heads in three rooms, prompting officials to post signs alerting guests of the outbreak.

Tom Saab, co-owner of the motel, feels the investigation into the rash of illnesses focused too much on the Sands Resort, citing the fact that the individual who died from the disease did not stay at his establishment.

“That gentleman did not live here at the Sands, did not rent here at the Sands, did not reserve a room here at the Sands,” he said. “We sort of kind of got thrown under the bus a little.”

The motel has since hired an environmental specialist to clean and monitor its water system. It has permanently shut down the hot tub in question.

Eighteen total cases of the disease were confirmed in New Hampshire, 13 of which were linked to the motel, according to Environmental Specialist Dr. John Murphy.

“Thirteen of them were implicated as being guests at this location,” he said. “The superheating and flushing, and the super chlorination work that was done were carried out with a view to eradicating any possible contamination that might be in the system.

Since the cleaning, Murphy says tests for Legionnaires’ bacteria have come back negative.

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