CHEROKEE, NC (FOX Carolina) – The Jackson County Health Department issued a warning after three people who visited Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.
Officials said the three patients visited the resort between May and November of this year.
According to a news release, Legionnaires’ disease is a treatable type of pneumonia caused by inhaling aerosol droplets of water contaminated with legionella bacteria. Sources of the contaminated water can include showers, hot tubs, faucets, cooling towers, misters, and decorative fountains.
Officials said most people who are exposed to the bacteria do not get sick, but it can cause severe illness and even death.
Symptoms usually appear between two and 14 days after exposure and are similar to other types of pneumonia: cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches.
The Health Department said it cannot be confirmed that any of the patients were exposed to the bacteria at the resort, but said the resort has taken immediate steps to prevent further possible exposure. These steps include treating the casino’s water system and taking steps to inform past and current guests.
Anyone who visited the resort or surrounded area and developed any symptoms of pneumonia should seek medical attention from their primary care provider, officials said.