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Two people dead after contracting Legionnaires' disease at Chicago hotel

What is Legionnaires' disease and is your child at risk?

The Chicago Health Department believes eight people contracted Legionnaires’ disease from this hotel in downtown Chicago, Illinois. Photo via Marriott website.

Two cases o f Legionnaires’ disease, which left two people dead, has been linked back to the JW Marriott Chicago Hotel, according to health officials. The victims were reportedly guests of the hotel in mid-July. The Chicago Department of Public Health said in a statement today that they know of six other confirmed cases, all of whom are people who stayed at the hotel on July 15 and July 16. The Public Health department also said they believe the hotel is the exposure point since all eight cases have a stay at the hotel in common. None of the victims were residents of Chicago or the surrounding areas.

The JW Marriott Chicago is considered a luxury hotel in the heart of Chicago with room rates ranging from $279 – $474 per night.

Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory infection or pneumonia caused by breathing in certain bacteria from mist or vapor source. If caught early, the disease is highly treatable with antibiotics. According to WebMD, people over the age of 45 are at greatest risk of contracting the disease. Although its name comes from its first widely known outbreak of a group of people, it more often only affects individuals. One common source for contamination are hotel fountains which have not been properly cleaned or sanitized. The water gets aspirated into the lungs and the individual gets infected. The disease is not contagious from person to person.

Symptoms include a cough, high fever and chills. The incubation period ranges from 2 days to 2 weeks.

It is extremely rare for a child to contract Legionnaires’ or Legionellosis.

The exact ages of the victims who died has not yet been released.