Four Cases of Legionnaires' Disease Found in Hampton

Aug 25, 2018

The Sands Resort in Hampton Beach.
Credit Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire Public health officials say they’ve identified a cluster of at least four cases of Legionnaires' Disease in Hampton.

All the cases are centered around a half-mile stretch of Ashworth Avenue in Hampton, between Island Path and H Street.

Legionnaires' Disease is a potentially fatal form of bacterial pneumonia, though some may only develop a mild reaction.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said three of those sickened have been hospitalized, but their conditions weren’t immediately known. During a conference call with reporters Saturday morning, Chan said the state averages more than 30 individual cases of Legionnaires' each year, but that this was the first “cluster” identified in more than a decade.

The Centers for Disease Control is helping to identify a source. The bacteria are often spread by droplets of water emanating from a contaminated shower, hot tub, fountain or cooling tower.

People at higher risk for disease--including those over 50--are asked to consider avoiding the Ashworth Avenue area.

Symptoms, which generally begin within two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria, are similar to other forms of pneumonia, and can include cough, shortness of breath and fever.