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Legionnaires' disease outbreak strikes Las Vegas hotel, CDC officials confirm

(CBS/AP) A Legionnaires' disease outbreak has been reported at a popular Las Vegas hotel.  It's prompted officials to warn guests who stayed this summer that they might be at risk to develop the potentially deadly disease.

The Aria Resort & Casino, located on the Las Vegas Strip, told guests who stayed during a two week period between June 21 and July 4 that they may have been exposed to high levels of disease-causing legionella bacteria.

A spokeswoman for the Southern Nevada Health District, Stephanie Bethel, said Thursday that CDC scientists confirmed six cases of the potentially lethal form of pneumonia among guests. She says all six people were treated and have recovered.

How can hotel guests catch Legionnaire's? By inhaling legionella bacteria that grows in hot tubs, air conditioners, and decorative fountains.

In a letter to guests, the hotel said that it treated the tainted water source and latest tests show no detectible bacteria levels.

But those that stayed during the two week period may still be at risk - symptoms can show up as long as 14 days after exposure to bacteria.  Who's most at risk? People with weakened immune systems like the elderly and smokers. Symptoms like headache, muscle pain, chills, and fever present early - but infected people eventually experience a phlegm-heavy cough, chest pain, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, and mental changes like confusion. In some cases, Legionnaire's can result in fatal complications like respiratory and kidney failure, and septic shock. If you think you've been exposed to legionella bacteria, see a doctor, who will prescribe antibiotics.

The Mayo Clinic has more.