Schenectady County

Half-dozen cases of Legionnaire’s disease connected to hotel

The state has tied six cases of Legionnaire’s disease contracted late last year to an Albany hotel.

The state has tied six cases of Legionnaire’s disease contracted late last year to an Albany hotel.

Six guests of the Best Western Sovereign Hotel, located at 1228 Western Ave., received treatment for the potentially fatal respiratory infection and have fully recovered. But after their doctors reported the disease, state epidemiologists were able to track it back to the hotel, said state Health Department spokesman Peter Constantakes.

Tests conducted last week and confirmed Monday found high levels of Legionnella bacteria in the hotel’s water system, he said.

The bacteria survives in the warm, moist air found in the water systems of large buildings and is easily ingested through mists or sprays. The disease isn’t contagious, and once the source is identified, it can be eliminated, said Constantakes.

“The hotel will address this in its water system,” he said. “It definitely needs to be sanitized, flushed and cleaned out to make sure there’s no bacteria. Heat will be used to kill the bacteria, and then it will be flushed again, refilled and then tested again.”

Constantakes said hotel shower heads will be replaced, as well.

The first case was reported in September, and the last in December. Best Western staff alerted guests to the Legionnaire’s confirmation and recommended using water bottles and avoiding showering on site.

A hotel receptionist redirected calls to a management line, which went unanswered Thursday evening.

The Health Department is working to track down guests who used the hotel in the last two to three weeks and is asking anyone who stayed there and feels sick to contact their doctor.

The disease, which is a severe form of pneumonia, usually develops within two to 14 days of exposure to the bacteria and causes symptoms including headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, cough, chest pain and fatigue.

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