Legionnaires outbreak points to Fla. hotel

Sept. 1, 2010 at 1:45 PM

MIAMI, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- A faulty water system at a Miami luxury hotel probably caused an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease that killed an English tourist last year, officials said.

Bacteria that causes the respiratory disease was detected in water samples at the Epic Hotel, a 411-room luxury residence on Miami's Biscayne Boulevard, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Wednesday.

"A causal relationship is likely because of the extent of the contamination found in the hotel," a report said.

In September 2009, an English tourist who stayed at the Epic before a Caribbean cruise became ill on board ship and was rushed back to a Miami hospital but died.

At least nine other cases, including several in European tourists, were reported over the next two months.

Health officials linked the cases to the hotel and briefly closed it down in December.

Health inspectors determined the hotel's water filters had stripped chlorine from the water, allowing the bacteria to grow.

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