2 Las Vegas hotel guests contract Legionnaires’ disease

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LAS VEGAS — Two recent guests at a Las Vegas resort have contracted Legionnaires’ disease, officials said Friday.

The guests who contracted the lung infection stayed separately in March and April at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the Southern Nevada Health District said.

The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2016

Tests of the hotel’s water indicated the presence of legionella, the bacteria that causes the disease. “Aggressive remediation actions” are underway, the Rio’s parent company, Caesars Entertainment, said.

Out of caution, guests are being relocated from rooms where the fixes are happening, Caesars Entertainment said.

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

Most healthy people who are exposed to legionella don’t get sick, the CDC says. But those who do usually develop fever, cough, chills or muscle aches. Symptoms usually begin within two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria.

“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.

It’s not clear how the health district linked the recent cases to the Rio.

Most patients recover after treatment with antibiotics. About 10% die because of complications from their illness, the CDC says.

Where the bacteria can be found

The bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease is found in “freshwater environments, like lakes and streams” and can grow in “human-made” water systems such as hot tubs, large plumbing systems, decorative fountains and hot water tanks, the CDC said.

The disease got its name from a deadly 1976 outbreak in Philadelphia that largely affected people attending an American Legion convention.

In 2011, a person who stayed at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas died after contracting Legionnaires’ disease, the health district said.

The Rio is hosting the 48th World Series of Poker, which started late last month and will conclude with the main event in mid-July.

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