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2 Cases Of Legionnaires' Disease Linked To Albert Lea Hotel, MDH Says

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) - Minnesota health officials have traced back two cases of Legionnaires' disease to a hotel in Albert Lea.

Two people from unrelated groups were hospitalized after they spent time in the pool and hot tub area of the hotel in the last weekend of June. One person has been discharged, while the other is still in the hospital. The Minnesota Department of Health says there are reports of others who could be experiencing Legionnaires' disease.

Health officials are asking people who stayed at the Ramada by Wyndham Albert Lea to seek medical care if they fall ill.

"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 infectious disease division at MDH.

According to health officials, Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia with lung inflammation usually caused by infection. It can be spread by inhaling fine spray from water sources with Legionella bacteria. It is not spread from person to person. Symptoms of the disease include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, and coughing.

Most people exposed to the bacteria do not develop the disease, but people over the age of 50 or those with compromised immune systems are at an increased risk.

MDH says they are working with the hotel to determine the source of the bacteria. At this time, they believe the source of infections originated at the hot tub in the spa which has now been closed to the public as well as the pool.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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