LOS ANGELES, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- One person died and 11 others were sickened by a Legionnaires' disease outbreak over the past month in Napa County, in the western U.S. state of California, health officials said.
Three patients remained hospitalized and one of them was on a ventilator, and the person who died was over 50 years old with risk factors for severe disease, according to a statement released earlier this week by the Napa County Public Health Department.
Legionella bacteria that cause rare illness had been detected in the cooling tower of the Embassy Suites Napa Valley in the city of Napa, the statement said.
"Finding Legionella in one water sample is an important piece of the puzzle, but we must continue to investigate other cooling towers and water sources in the outbreak area, as it is common to find more than one source," Karen Relucio, Napa County's health officer, said in the statement.
Though none of the 12 who were sickened in the outbreak that began on July 11 stayed at the hotel, and they were not employees, but in many of the cases they live in the area where the hotel located.
Relucio said health officials had not identified any hotel guests or employees who contracted the disease although the incubation period can be 14 days.
In March, two people were killed and 14 were hospitalized in a suspected outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Coachella Valley in Southern California.
Legionnaires' disease is a common type of pneumonia caused by a bacterium called Legionella, which is spread through inhaled water droplets. Its symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. ■