Napa County

Napa County Residents, Tourists React Following Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak

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A growing number of locals and tourists in Napa County are reacting and wondering how to keep themselves safe from the recent Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the area.

Guests at the Embassy Suites in Napa went on with their plans Thursday, despite learning that a dozen cases of Legionnaires' disease, one deadly, were possibly connected to a cooling system just outside the hotel.

However, health officials said that none of the current cases are linked to guests at the hotel.

Jenna and Phil Wood, who are in town for their anniversary said that they heard about the outbreak, but weren't letting it ruin their time in Napa County.

“I guess we feel healthy. I think," said Jenna Wood.

Health experts said that symptoms of Legionnaires' disease include fever and cough, and one group is particularly at risk.

“You can see death in about 30% of cases. So, it's not rare per say. Much of the bad outcomes comes with somebody who has lot of medical conditions, and who is older or who might be immunocompromised. Again, early detection is key from the hospital and clinician's point of view, because you have to give different kind of antibiotics a lot of times from the ones we usually use to treat pneumonia,” said UCSF infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong.

Napa County Public Health officials said they investigated more water sources near the Embassy Suites Thursday and they are awaiting results from those tests.

Since the airborne disease spreads through water sources, Napa city officials said that the municipal water was also checked Thursday and it was considered safe.

Business owners said that they are trying to take it in stride.

“Business goes on as usual. So, we survived COVID. If we have to wear masks again, we wear masks again,” said business owner Susan Melendez.

For now, the Napa County Public Health is recommending people who live near the Embassy Suites Napa Valley to disinfect all water sources, including faucets and hot tubs as a precaution. They also recommend people to seek medical help quickly if they have any symptoms.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Napa Valley provided the following statement on Thursday:

"The safety and well-being of our guests and Team Members are of paramount importance, and Embassy Suites by Hilton Napa Valley continues to make every effort to ensure all practices and standards are in line with strict safety and security regulations.

We are aware of public reports by Napa County Public Health of a Legionnaires’ outbreak in the area and preliminary findings in our cooling tower. We are waiting for a full report with test results from the health department, however, remain diligent in our commitment to providing a safe, hospitable environment for all. In keeping with that commitment and upon learning of their concerns, we immediately contacted our consultant and water treatment provider to ensure we were following the guidance set forth by the health department and began remediation.

We continue to cooperate fully and work closely with health officials on their ongoing investigation."

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