HAMPTON, N.H. (CBS) – Octogenarian Carl Forsman says he is one of a dozen people sickened by Legionnaires’ disease in the popular beach town of Hampton that has killed one person.

The 83-year-old is back at Hampton Beach after spending six days in the hospital earlier this summer for Legionnaire’s disease.

“The second day I was there, I was diagnosed correctly with Legionnaire’s pneumonia,” Forsman said.

Hampton Beach, N.H. (WBZ-TV)

Forsman says he was a guest at one of the Hampton Beach hotels that had their hot tubs shut down due to the outbreak.

“I didn’t make a big fuss about it. We treated it with some pretty heavy duty antibiotics,” he said of the illness.

New Hampshire health officials confirmed Thursday that one person has died from pneumonia linked to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Hampton Beach.

Health officials say one elderly adult died from complications related to the disease. Eleven other people tested positive for Legionnaire’s disease.

Hampton Beach, N.H. sunset. (WBZ-TV)

The state has been investigating the cases at Hampton Beach in the area of Ashworth Ave. between Island Path and M Street.

As a precaution, the NH Department of Health and Human Services has closed the hot tubs at Sands Hotel and the Harris Sea Ranch Motel.

“Because hot tubs are known to amplify this bacteria and are known to potentially airsilize the bacteria into the air, as a precaution measure, we have been working with the owners of these facilities to close (the hot tubs) down,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan of the New Hampshire Department of Health.

Legionnaire’s is primarily transmitted through inhaling contaminated water droplets that have been dispersed into the air, Chan said.

“I never found out that the hot tub was being shut down. Every single person here should have been alerted,” said one woman staying at one of the hotels.

Carl Forsman says he is among people sickened by Legionnaires’ disease in the popular beach town of Hampton, N.H. (WBZ-TV)

Michael Downing, who was staying at the Sands Hotel, said, “I noticed that there was a sign on the door that said closed but it didn’t give any information as to why.”

People who are at a higher risk of contracting the disease are being advised to avoid the area. And business owners along the beach are noticing the impacts.

“It’s usually a lot busier than this, it slowed down a little bit because of the Legionnaire’s disease,” said Doug Jolly of Jolly Airbrush.

The federal Centers for Disease Control is working closely with New Hampshire public health officials to identify the source of the bacteria.

The state health department says the risk of exposure is low, but more cases are likely to be reported in the coming days as their investigation continues.

First symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include headache, muscle pain, chills and a fever that may be 104 degrees or higher. Day 2-3 symptoms can include cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, and confusion or other mental changes.

For more information on Legionnaires’ disease, visit the CDC website.


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