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Health Department warns possible exposure to Legionella Bacteria at Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - The New York Health Department is warning of potential exposure to Legionella bacteria at Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.

Officials say individuals who were guests at the hotel between July 16 and August 1, 2018 and were in proximity to the hotel's pool and spa may have been exposed to the bacteria. 

The department is currently working with the hotel to reach guests who were on site during the potential exposure. 

Legionella bacteria can cause a serious type of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease. The bacteria can also cause a less serious illness called Pontiac fever.

Officials say Legionnaires’ disease is very similar to other types of pneumonia, with symptoms that include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches.  Less common symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, and confusion. Symptoms usually begin two to ten days after being exposed to the bacteria, but it can take longer so people should watch for symptoms for about two weeks after exposure.

Pontiac fever symptoms are primarily fever and muscle aches; it is a milder infection than Legionnaires’ disease. Symptoms begin between a few hours to three days after being exposed to the bacteria and usually last less than a week. Pontiac fever is different from Legionnaires’ disease because someone with Pontiac fever does not have pneumonia.

The health department says most healthy people exposed to Legionella do not get sick. People at increased risk of getting sick are:

  • People 50 years or older
  • Current or former smokers
  • People with a chronic lung disease (like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema)
  • People with weak immune systems or who take drugs that weaken the immune system (like after a transplant operation or chemotherapy)
  • People with cancer
  • People with underlying illnesses such as diabetes, kidney failure, or liver failure  

For additional information on Legionnaires’ Disease, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/index.html


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