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Legionnaires' disease outbreak kills 2 at Chicago hotel

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 4:10 PM EDT, Tue August 28, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Health officials find 8 cases of the disease, including the two deaths
  • The disease affected people who stayed at the JW Marriott Chicago
  • Legionnaires' disease is a respiratory bacterial infection

(CNN) -- A Chicago hotel has closed and drained its pool, hot tub and fountain in response to the deaths of two people who contracted the flu-like Legionnaires' disease, authorities said Monday.

Since August 14, health officials have recorded eight confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease, including the two deaths, among guests who visited the JW Marriott Chicago hotel in downtown Chicago.

"We believe that there is no ongoing health threat at the hotel. Individuals who stayed at the hotel during this time period who are experiencing flu-like symptoms are encouraged to get in touch with a healthcare provider because it is important that all potential cases are diagnosed and treated as soon as possible," said Kathleen Ritger, a doctor at the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Legionnaires' disease is a respiratory bacterial infection usually spread through mist that comes from a water source, such as cooling towers, air conditioning or showers. It is not transmitted person to person. Symptoms of the disease include fever, chills and a cough. Most people recover, but between 5% to 30% of those who get the disease die, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Each year an estimated 8,000 to 18,000 hospitalized cases occur in the United States.

An outbreak of the disease in Philadelphia in 1976, largely among people attending a convention of the American Legion, led to its name.

Along with draining a pool, fountain and hot tub, the hotel is working to alert guests who stayed there from July 16 through August 15, a Marriott spokeswoman said.

In 2011: Las Vegas resort warns some guests to test for Legionnaires' disease

CNN's Darrell Calhoun contributed to this report.

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