Four people have been sickened in an outbreak Legionnaires' disease that has been linked to a hotel in northwestern Minnesota.
The individuals became ill between Jan. 22 and 27, with all having spent some time at the Crookston Inn and Convention Center prior to falling ill, though none of them stayed the night.
The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating what the source of the Legionella bacteria might be, but says early evidence and "past experience" suggest the source is the hotel's spa.
The pool and spa area has been closed to guests by hotel management, with MDH and hotel staff working to decontaminate the areas.
Meanwhile the hotel is notifying anyone who was at the hotel between Jan. 14 and Feb. 13, informing them they may have been exposed to the bacteria.
"If you spent time at the hotel between Jan. 14 and Feb. 13 and are ill with undiagnosed pneumonia or you develop symptoms in the two weeks following your visit, please see a health care provider to be evaluated for possible Legionnaire’s disease,” said Kris Ehresmann, director of the infectious disease division at MDH.
Most people exposed to Legionella won't develop Legionnaires' – a form of bacterial pneumonia – but smokers, those aged over 50, and those with weakened immune systems, diabetes or lung disease are particularly vulnerable.
Symptoms to watch out for are fever fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and coughing.