Legionnaire's Outbreak At Sea Watch Condos - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Legionnaire's Outbreak At Sea Watch Condos

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OCEAN CITY, Md. - The Worcester County Health Department confirms an outbreak of legionnaire's disease at an Ocean City condo complex.

We're told 2 unrelated individuals came down with the bacterial infection. And after an investigation, health officials found both people stayed at the Sea Watch Condominiums within the past 9 months.

A water test confirmed the bacteria is now present in the facility's water system. The Sea Watch is a complex of private and rental properties, and management has notified all guests about the risk of exposure to the legionella bacteria.  The health department says guests should use their best judgement whether to stay or leave.

"Legionella is a bacteria that's common in the environment," explains Debra Stevens with the Worcester County Health Department. "And it's not uncommon to be found in a water system in a building. But really, the important thing is that if you develop symptoms of pneumonia, that you seek medical attention immediately."

Experts say the bacteria is common, but catching it, is not. You can't get it from someone else. It's spread solely from direct contact through the water source. And it's usually breathed in a mist form, like in a hot tub setting, or as droplets from a shower head.

If you are infected with the Legionella bacteria, you should show symptoms within 2 weeks of your exposure.  So, if you stayed at the Sea Watch within the past 9 months and didn't get sick, there should be no reason to be concerned.

Legionnaires can be deadly for some people. People who smoke, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are especially susceptible. If you have symptoms, health experts say seek medical attention. The infection is treatable with common antibiotics.

At the recommendation of the health department, the Sea Watch is now working with a water consultant to fix the problem. And the health department will return after that's completed to retest the facility.

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