• Five people were hospitalized with Legionella pneumonia
  • All the patients eventually recovered
  • The outbreak has been linked to Meredith Woods and Clearwater Campground

An outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in New Hampshire has been associated with a campground in Meredith.

Five people were hospitalized with Legionella pneumonia (Legionnaires' disease), the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) noted in a press release. They fell ill sometime from early fall 2021 to January 2023. All of them eventually recovered.

Legionnaires' disease is a "serious type of pneumonia," according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It's caused by Legionella bacteria, and people can get sick when they accidentally swallow water or breathe in aerosolized water droplets contaminated with the bacteria.

Although not everyone exposed to Legionella gets sick, it can become serious or even fatal. One in 10 people who gets sick from it will die, according to the CDC.

The illnesses have so far been associated with the Meredith Woods and Clearwater Campground in New Hampshire, according to the DHHS. All five people reportedly stayed there before they got sick.

"DPHS (Division of Public Health Services) and New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) are actively investigating this outbreak to identify water system contamination and implement corrective actions to prevent further infections," noted the DHHS.

Although Legionella naturally occurs in freshwater environments, it also prompts health concerns when it grows in man-made water systems, especially when the water becomes stagnant. This was why authorities called for the inspection and checking of building water systems after many of them closed down because of COVID-19.

So far, testing has revealed the presence of Legionella pneumophila bacteria in the water system at several locations. Authorities are already working with the Meredith facility to figure out and implement a "water prevention and management plan."

"Anybody choosing to stay at this facility should be aware of the ongoing outbreak investigation and potential risk for exposure to Legionella bacteria through the facility's water system," said State Epidemiologist Benjamin Chan. "Anybody who has stayed at this facility in the last couple of weeks and develops pneumonia or fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, headache and muscles aches, should talk to their healthcare provider about testing for Legionella infection, which can impact treatment decisions."

The health department has requested anyone who is ill or knows someone who fell sick with Legionnaires disease after a visit to the Meredith facility to inform the DPHS. This could help with the investigation.

Those with information can call the NH DPHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control (BIDC) at 603-271-4496 or 603-271-5300.

An outbreak of Legionnaires' disease, which is spread through water droplets contaminated with Legionella bacteria, shown above, has killed 10 people in New York City. Officials ordered inspections Thursday for all buildings with cooling towers, which have been linked to the current outbreak. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention