The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District says two cases of Legionnaires’ Disease have been reported at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Waco North in Lacy Lakeview.
“Because we have two new cases in the same month, we need to step it up a little bit further, we need to continue letting guests know that this is a concern, and we need to do really further stronger testing throughout the water system,” said Kelly Craine with the McLennan County Public Health District.
That means the hotel just off of Interstate 35 must notify all guests and staff about the risk of catching the disease. The owners must also allow the Health Department conduct an environmental investigation at the property.
“And it can be correct once we understand the source, once we start testing, once we really identify that, we’ll be able to do a stronger treatment plan,” said Craine.
They will be looking for the possible source of the contamination, since that is unknown at this time.
According to the CDC, Legionnaires’ Disease is a form of pneumonia caused by a bacteria called Legionella. The bacteria is normally found in fresh water lakes and streams, and can grow and spread in shower heads and sink faucets.
“So typically you get it from hot tubs, pools, air conditioning cooling towers, showers, anything like that, fountains, anything where there is a spray of water that you could accidentally inhale,” said Craine.
The people most at risk are those over fifty, smokers, and/or those with weakened immune systems.
“One thing they would consider doing is taking a bath as opposed to taking a shower, having portable water to brush your teeth, wash your face, things like that,” said Craine.
For more information on Legionnaires’ Disease, follow this link.
In a statement to FOX 44, Fairfield Inn and Suites Waco North says:
“We have been notified by the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District (WHCPHD), regarding a matter involving previous guests who have reportedly contracted Legionnaires’ disease.
The WHCPHD has not indicated any need to relocate or stop accepting guests. There is no evidence of the bacteria being at the hotel based on multiple and ongoing testing by a third-party experts conducted at the hotel in the past year. The safety and security of our guests and associates is a top priority.
We take hotel hygiene and cleanliness very seriously, and have strict standards that either meet or exceed public health department regulations. We work closely with local authorities and agencies on an ongoing basis, and if there were ever cause for concern, we would take appropriate steps immediately.