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Two hotel guests at Las Vegas' Rio contract Legionnaires' disease

By Allen Cone
Two hotel guests at Las Vegas' Rio contract Legionnaires' disease
Health officials say two people contracted Legionnaires' disease after staying at Las Vegas' Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. Photo courtesy Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons

June 10 (UPI) -- Two recent guests at Las Vegas' Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino contracted Legionnaires' disease, health officials said.

The guests who contracted the lung infection stayed separately in March and April at the 2,522-room hotel, the Southern Nevada Health District said Friday. The health district and hotel did not identify the names and conditions of the two people.

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Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia that develops when people breathe small droplets of water infected with Legionella bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

After the second illness was reported in late May, the hotel found Legionella in the hot-water system of one of the hotel's two towers during a test, Mark Bergtholdt, the district's environmental health supervisor told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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On Thursday, the hotel began using chlorine at high temperatures to disinfect the water system and rooms that received water from it, Bergtholdt said.

Guests served by that system were moved elsewhere, he said.

"The company is working closely with the Southern Nevada Health District and taking aggressive remediation actions to ensure the safety of Rio's water," said Caesars Entertainment, the hotel's parent company, in a statement.

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Health officials contacted the Rio after concluding that was the only place the two patients stayed at while in Las Vegas, Bergtholdt said.

"Guests who stayed at the Rio more than two weeks ago and have not developed symptoms are not at risk for disease," the health district said in a statement.

Healthy people rarely get sick from the disease but those who do usually develop fever, cough, chills or muscle aches within two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria.

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Anyone with questions can contact the health district at 702-759-0999.

In 2011, a guest at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas died after contracting Legionnaires' disease.

In 1976, an outbreak of pneumonia caused 34 deaths at a 1976 American Legion Convention in Philadelphia. The type of pneumonia was named Legionnaire's disease.

The Rio, just off the Strip, is owned by Caesars Entertainment. Its other hotels in Las Vegas are Caesars Palace, The Cromwell, The Linq Hotel & Casino, Planet Hollywood, Bally's Las Vegas, Paris Las Vegas, Harrah's Las Vegas, Nobu Hotel and Flamingo Las Vegas.

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