Dallas hotel shut down, possible Legionnaires' case

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by JANET ST. JAMES and SHANNON POWELL

WFAA

Posted on June 6, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 6 at 7:08 PM

SuperMedia Hotel and Conference Center

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DALLAS — SuperMedia Hotel and Conference Center officials said the building was shut down as a precaution after an out-of-state hotel guest was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.

The bacteria that causes the illness is natural to the environment and thrives in water.

It is spread in buildings through the water supply or air conditioning.

"The microorganism is inhaled," explained Dr. Christopher Perkins, Dallas County Health Authority. "Through a contaminated water source — whether it may be a mist, or sometimes you can drink and aspirate — or in other words it goes into your windpipe.  And then you can get what we call Legionnaires’ pneumonia."

Legionnaires' is not contagious. It is a treatable disease and symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of coordination

The company itself shut down the building while it conducted testing.

Tarrant County health officials are aware of the case but say they will only investigate if it becomes an outbreak.  At present, there is just the one case, which may not be connected to the building.

This is the fourth reported case of Legionnaires' in Tarrant County this year.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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