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Why What Happens in Vegas Won't Necessarily Stay in Vegas: Legionnaire's Disease

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Residents at a Las Vegas hotel may have gotten more than they bargained for while on vacation. According to a letter posted on the Aria Resort & Casino website, hotel guests that stayed between June 21 and July 4 were possibly exposed to Legionnaire’s disease. So far, six cases linked to the hotel have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Legionnaire’s disease is characterized by high fever, chills, fatigue, and coughing, and can be fatal. To become infected with the Legionella bacteria you must inhale contaminated mist. For example, you could be exposed after taking a long shower or from using whirlpool jets in a bathtub. According to the Aria Resort & Casino letter to guests, water tests detected "elevated levels" of the bacteria in several rooms. Nevertheless, the hotel maintains that the problem has been remedied.

While most individuals will not become ill from Legionella bacteria, those with compromised immune systems, people who smoke, or the elderly are more susceptible to contracting Legionnaire’s disease. Thankfully, according to Stephanie Bethel, a spokeswoman for the Southern Nevada Health District, CDC scientists confirmed that all six individuals who fell ill were successfully treated and released. However, other guests that stayed during the two week period are still at risk–symptoms can show up as long as two weeks after exposure. In some cases, Legionnaire’s can result in respiratory and kidney failure, and septic shock. This isn’t the first outbreak of the bacteria this year, either. The disease was blamed for sickening 200 guests at the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles earlier this year and was later linked to a contaminated hot tub.

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