State health officials are investigating a potential outbreak of Legionnaires' disease linked to a hotel in Albert Lea.
The Minnesota Department of Health says there have been two lab-confirmed cases of the deadly respiratory disease linked to the Ramada by Wyndham Albert Lea.
The source of the disease is potentially the pool hot tub/spa, with health officials asking anyone who stayed at the hotel in late June to seek medical care quickly if they fall ill.
"Minnesota Department of Health investigators have identified two laboratory-confirmed cases so far among people from unrelated groups who were at the Ramada by Wyndham Albert Lea and spent time in the pool/hot tub area around the last weekend of June," the department said.
Both of those sickened were hospitalized, with once since release, and there are reports of others who were also in the hot tub area who are experiencing illnesses that could be Legionnaires' disease as well.
The disease is spread by inhaling spray from water sources that contain Legionella bacteria, with an incubation period of up to 14 days, MDH said.
While investigation continues into the source of the bacteria, MDH says "early evidence and past experience suggests the source of the infections might be the hotel’s spa (hot tub)."
The hot tub was shut down for maintenance on June 29, and the pool area is closed to guests currently while it's decontaminated.
"If you spent time at the hotel between June 22 and June 29 and are ill now, or if you develop illness in the two weeks following your visit, please see a health care provider to be evaluated for possible Legionnaires’ disease,” said Kris Ehresmann, director of the infectious disease division at MDH.
Legionnaires' disease is a severe bacterial pneumonia, with symptoms including fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and coughing.
It requires prompt diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics.