A potentially deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease has hit a resort in Las Vegas, already sickening a handful of guests.
The Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas is advising guests about exposure to the disease during their stay.
Elevated levels of the bacteria that causes the disease were found at the resort, a 4,004-room hotel that advertises spectacular views of the Las Vegas skyline and surrounding mountains, they said.
Health officials have recently notified us of a few reported instances of guests who visited Aria, were diagnosed with, treated for and recovered from Legionnaires' disease, the hotel said in a letter posted on its web site.
Aria's letter tells guests who stayed from June 21 to July 4 that they may have been exposed to the Legionella bacteria, which spreads the disease.
Legionnaires' disease is caused by Legionella bacteria, named for a 1976 outbreak at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.
The CDC lists initial symptoms of Legionnaires' disease, which can be fatal, as high fever, chills, fatigue and a cough that begins two to 14 days after exposure.
To become infected, you must inhale aerosolized water (mist), the hotel said.
For example, if the water system has Legionella, you could be exposed by taking a long shower or using 'bubblemakers' or whirlpool jets in a bath tub. ... It's important to know that most people who are exposed will not get sick, but people who have weak immune systems, people who smoke, people who are older are more at risk of illness.
The Southern Nevada Health District said a small number of cases of Legionnaires' disease that may have been linked to the hotel were reported in 2009, but tests of the hotel's water system were normal at the time.
Health authorities again searched for the bacteria at the hotel last month after several more cases were reported, Health District spokeswoman Jennifer Sizemore said. She put the total number of cases since 2009 at six.
The hotel said water tests detected elevated levels of the Legionella bacteria in several guest rooms, but neither the hotel nor health authorities specified what water system the outbreak was associated with.