Update: N.H. Reports First Death from Legionnaires' Disease in Hampton

Aug 31, 2018

There are now 12 cases of Legionnaire's disease from the Hampton case.
Credit CDC

State officials say one person has died from Legionnaires' Disease as an outbreak in Hampton continues to grow. New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that two additional cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 14.

New Hampshire DHHS announced Thursday the number of confirmed cases of the form of pneumonia had expaned to 12. Eleven of those sickened are from out-of-state, but recently visited a half-mile stretch of Ashworth Avenue.

Officials wouldn’t release details about the fatality, but did say the individual was elderly.

The state plans to give another update Tuesday, after Labor Day.

The state announced the Legionnaires' Disease “cluster” last weekend with four initial cases.

State Epidemiologist Benjamin Chan says preliminary testing around Ashworth Avenue in Hampton shows two hots tubs as the likely source of the outbreak.

“Hot tubs are a known source for this bacteria because they contain warm water which allows the bacteria to grow and amplify because there are jets which can disperse the water and aerosolize it,” said Chan.

The hot tubs are located at the Sands Resort and Harris Sea Ranch, which remain open for business. Both hot tubs have now been drained.

Symptoms of Legionnaires' Disease include cough, shortness of breath, fever, and muscle aches.

The state sees on average between 30-35 cases of the disease annually, but hasn’t seen a cluster of cases in approximately 15 years.

The Centers for Disease Control is assisting state health officials in confirming the source of the outbreak.

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Legionnaires' Disease 

  • First detected in 1976. 
  • People get it by breathing in mist containing the Legionella bacterium - so named after an outbreak at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.
  • In general, the bacteria do not spread from one person to another.
  • Symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, headaches.
  • Symptoms usually begin two to 10 days after exposure.
  • There are no vaccines that can prevent Legionnaires' Disease.

*Source: CDC.

(This article was updated Thursday mid-day with additional information from the state epidemiologist, and Friday as N.H. DHHS announced two additional cases were found.)