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Legionnaires Disease Outbreak Confirmed At Hawaii Resort

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Hawaii’s DOH (Department Of Health) confirmed the 5th case of Legionnaires disease in a tourist staying at the Grand Islander by Hilton Grand Vacations in Waikiki.

 It is the 5th reported case in the same hotel, Grand Islander. The DOH and the hotel management are investigating to check for any possible disease focus in the area. A bacteria transmit the Legionnaires by installing itself in air conditioners, hot water tanks, shower heads, and hot tubs and contaminating whoever inhales the bacteria established in these possible spreaders.

legionella test in scientist hand

It’s the fourth case recorded in hotel stayers in the last two months. It all indicates a Legionnaires outbreak in the hotel by contamination in some of its installations.

The state epidemiologist, Dr. Sarah Kemble, commented in a press release about the subject:  “DOH continues to work to ensure that the Grand Islander takes action to remediate the building and other possible sources of exposure. Individuals who stay at the Grand Islander should keep these recent cases in mind, and if they have flu-like symptoms following a stay at the hotel, should seek medical care immediately.”

waikiki beach

The Legionnaires is not transmitted by breathing directly from an infected individual (unlike covid, which has a rapid transmission rate by air) but by contamination. The most common way of getting infected is by inhaling air that contains the bacteria Legionella but might also infect by drinking contaminated water or fluids containing it.

The symptoms include cough, fever, chills, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headaches, and diarrhea. Most of them are flu-like manifestations and are easily treated with antibiotics.

tap water

This apparently “small” outbreak is worrying because the Legionnaires has a 10% death rate. That’s an alarming number compared to covid-19, which tends to be around 2%. However, with vaccines available worldwide, this number is even lower, resulting in many countries opening up again, Hawaii included, which has lifted all restrictions, and all summer season events are moving along unitedly (LINK).

positive test for legionella

The US records 10.000 cases of Legionnaires every year, a number small enough to be labeled as very rare. That’s the number of covid cases on a single day in US’s most tranquil phase since the beginning of the pandemic, which was June 2021. However, the rareness of the disease doesn’t make it less worrying, as outbreaks occur and can be tragic for some, especially those with a weaker immune system.

filling cup with tap water

The Grand Islander by Hilton Grand Vacations is making sure that they’re doing everything possible to ensure the safety of their guests. It’s one of Hawaii’s most wanted hotels with excellent reviews and a perfect location, just a short distance from Kahanamoku Beach, considered the 5th best beach in the US in the annual top 10 list by a specialist called Dr. Beach.

Kahanamoku Beach

Unfortunately, there are no vaccines available for Legionnaires, so the only possible way to avert it while traveling is to avoid drinking tap or otherwise potentially contaminated water. There are many ways to prevent it at home, especially minding stagnant water, but it’s important to always pay attention to the place you’re heading on your vacations.

waikiki beach at night

Many locations now require reservations to visit in Hawaii, trying to mitigate the effects of over-tourism, a long-going problem on the islands, which affects locals’ lives to the point where prices skyrocketed, for everyone. As a result, many ask tourists to stay away from the aloha state.

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