HAMPTON BEACH, N.H. (CBS/AP) — People walking around Hampton Beach on Saturday were concerned after four people have been identified with Legionnaire’s disease.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health Services says the four people likely acquired Legionella at the end of July or beginning of August in a localized area of Hampton. Legionnaire’s disease, also called Legionella pneumonia, is a bacterial pneumonia.
Some people interviewed by WBZ-TV said they’d like to know how the disease is spreading.
“It’s a little bit scary because I haven’t heard of that disease in at least a couple of decades or longer,” one man said.
The victims likely caught it in the area of Ashworth Avenue at Hampton Beach, between Island Path and H Street. Three of the victims are hospitalized with the ailment.
The public health department says it is investigating for additional cases of the disease, as well as for the source of the infections. The disease is usual spread by inhaling droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria, such as through contaminated commercial air-conditioning units, misters or even showers.
“Legionella is typically acquired by inhaling contaminated droplets of water that get into the air, so you have to be in somewhat close proximity to whatever the contamination source is. We’re not talking about airborne transmission,” said Beth Daly of the New Hampshire Bureau of Infectious Disease Control.
Many people exposed to Legionella do not get sick. The disease has the ability to cause serious illness and death, however.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)