One person has reportedly died and multiple people are ill due to a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak linked to a North Carolina state fair.
A press release from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday explained that the department, alongside local officials from Buncombe County and Henderson County, is investigating “multiple cases” of the disease reported in people who attended the N.C. Mountain State Fair in Fletcher, N.C. from Sept. 6 through 15.
“We don’t yet know whether people might have been exposed to Legionella bacteria at the NC Mountain State Fair,” state epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore said in the statement. “As a precaution, we are recommending that anyone who went to the fair and has symptoms of pneumonia, like cough, fever or shortness of breath, see a doctor right away and talk with them about Legionnaires’ disease.”
A spokesperson for the Henderson County Department of Public Health told CNN that nine confirmed cases of the disease, including one death, were reported in Buncombe County, while four additional confirmed cases were reported in Henderson County. (The Henderson County Department of Public Health did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.)
Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially deadly type of pneumonia that comes from the legionella bacteria, according to the Mayo Clinic. The condition does not spread from person to person — rather, people contract Legionnaires’ from breathing in the bacteria, often from mist and the water dripping from air-conditioning units. Those at the highest risk for the disease are older adults, smokers and people with weakened immune systems.
More than 150 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are reported in North Carolina each year, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.
State health officials urged anyone who attended the fair and is experiencing symptoms of pneumonia to contact their doctor “right away,” according to the press release.
Earlier this year, one woman died after a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak linked to an Atlanta hotel.
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