The Centers for Disease Control today issued a news brief regarding an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease at the Regency Club Vacation Resort and Wyndham Cozumel Resort & Spa (formerly Reef Club Cozumel).
This warning pertains specifically to the above mentioned hotels, not to Cozumel as a whole. There is no generally elevated risk of Legionnaire’s Disease in Cozumel, the Yucatan Peninsula, or other parts of Mexico.
Following is the text of the news brief:
An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease is ongoing at the Regency Club Vacation Resort and Wyndham Cozumel Resort & Spa (formerly Reef Club Cozumel) on the island of Cozumel, Mexico. Since May 2008, there have been a total of nine confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease among tourists from the United States and the Netherlands who have stayed at this resort. Based on findings from a public health investigation in April 2010, disinfection of the resort’s shared potable water system was recommended. Although measures were taken at the resort to disinfect the water system, in December 2010, CDC was notified of the ninth case associated with the resort, suggesting that there is an ongoing source of exposure.
Recommendations for U.S. Travelers
Legionnaires’ disease is a pneumonia caused by inhaling aerosolized water contaminated with Legionella bacteria. Legionnaires’ disease is not transmitted from person to person. Misty water such as that given off by hot tubs, cooling towers, spray misters, showerheads, and faucets is a common source of Legionella.
Travelers at high risk of infection should consider staying at another resort or should avoid exposures to misty water at the Regency Club Vacation Resort and the Wyndham Cozumel Resort & Spa, especially showering. High risk groups include:
* Current or former smokers
* People aged 50 or older
* People with any of the following chronic health conditions:
o Chronic lung disease, such as COPD or emphysema
o Weakened immune system that might be caused by cancer, organ transplant, certain prescription drugs
o Other chronic conditions, such as chronic kidney disease, asthma, heart disease, or liver disease
o Rarely, people without any risk factors develop Legionnaires’ disease after exposure to Legionella.
Symptoms begin 2–14 days after exposure and include high fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Many people also have diarrhea, headaches, or muscle aches. Legionnaires’ disease can be a severe and fatal illness but most persons will recover with appropriate antibiotic treatment. Travelers who develop these symptoms during their trip or in the 2 weeks following their trip should see a doctor. Travelers seeing a doctor in the United States should be sure to tell the doctor that they have traveled to Cozumel and stayed at the Regency Club Vacation Resort or Wyndham Cozumel Resort & Spa in Mexico. A milder illness caused by the same type of Legionella bacteria is called Pontiac fever. The symptoms of Pontiac fever usually last for 2–5 days and may also include fever, headaches, and muscle aches; however, there is no pneumonia. Symptoms of Pontiac fever go away without treatment.
The Legionella bacteria got its name in 1976 when many people who went to a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion suffered from pneumonia (lung infection). Each year, 8,000 to 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease in the United States. People get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in a mist or vapor (small droplets of water in the air) that has been contaminated with the bacteria.
For more information about Legionella, visit CDC’s Legionellosis Resource Site.
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