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The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

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DHMH Press Releases : legionella bacteria confirmed



Ocean City, MD (October 12, 2011)  - Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) Laboratories Administration testing confirmed the presence of Legionella bacteria in water collected at the Plim Plaza Hotel in Ocean City, Maryland.  Legionella pneumophila, the bacteria that cause Legionnaires' disease, was detected in water collected from various locations at the hotel.   

An ongoing investigation by the Worcester County Health Department and DHMH has identified three additional cases of Legionnaires' disease in people who had stayed at the hotel.  This is in addition to the three cases announced by the health department last week, for a total of six confirmed cases. One person, an elderly out-of-state resident, died. The Worcester County Health Department and DHMH continue to work with the Plim Plaza Hotel management to investigate this situation.   

Legionnaires' disease, also called legionellosis, is a form of pneumonia caused by inhaling mist or vapor from water containing the Legionella bacteria. People may develop the disease approximately two to 14 days following exposure to the bacteria.   

Although the hotel is currently closed for the season, anyone who was a guest at the Plim Plaza hotel in the month of September and is experiencing pneumonia-like symptoms should contact his or her health care provider to determine whether testing or treatment is recommended. The disease can be treated with commonly available antibiotics. Legionellosis is not spread from person to person.  

There have been 93 confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease reported this year in Maryland.  On average 100 -130 cases are reported statewide annually. 


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