ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued a public health advisory Thursday for people who stayed at a west St. Louis County hotel on or after October 1 after two visitors tested positive for Legionnaires' disease.
According to the DHSS, the warning focuses on the St. Louis Marriott West on Maryville Centre Drive.
Health officials determined two people were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease in October and November and they stayed at the hotel during the same period covering October 1. It is believed both visitors may have come in contact with an unspecified water source during that time.
The individuals with Legionnaires’ disease were not together at the hotel.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people typically cannot spread Legionnaires' disease to one another, although it does occur on rare occasion.
"We believe the risk of Legionnaires' disease is low. Your individual risk may increase if you are 50 years or older, smoke cigarettes, or have certain medical conditions, such as a weakened immune system," the DHSS says.
People contract the illness by breathing in small water droplets containing the Legionella bacterium. Legionella grows and spreads in building water systems such as:
- Showerheads and sink faucets
- Cooling towers (structures that contain water and a fan as part of centralized air-cooling systems for building or industrial processes)
- Hot tubs that aren’t drained after each use
- Decorative fountains and water features
- Hot water tanks and heaters
- Large plumbing systems
The source of the legionella bacterium has not been determined. The St. Louis Marriott West has been cooperating with the DHSS to investigate the matter. Thus far, tests have not discovered any evidence of Legionella in samples taken from the hotel. Additional test results are still pending.
Lodging Hospitality Management, owners of the Marriott West, issued the following statement Thursday evening:
The health and well-being of our guests and team members is our top priority. As soon as we were made aware of the situation, we fully cooperated with the Missouri health department, allowing them to test and evaluate all of the areas of the hotel. We are being abundantly cautious and have taken measures to follow health department recommendations to maintain a safe environment for everyone.
Symptoms of Legionnaires' disease are similar to pneumonia: coughing, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches, as well as nausea and diarrhea.
Health officials have advised anyone who stayed at the hotel around October 1 and exhibit symptoms to seek immediate medical attention and have their doctor conduct a urine test and obtain a respiratory culture.