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Two members of the Yakima (WA) Athletic Club were confirmed with Legionnaires’ disease, according to a news release from the Yakima Health District. In addition, the men’s hot tub was identified as the source of the Legionella bacteria.

The health district took water samples from the athletic club – located at 2501 Racquet Lane – on Dec. 4 after it was alerted that a club member was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. After the samples were sent to the testing lab, a second member was found to have the serious respiratory illness.

Results of samples taken from the hot tub in the men’s locker room confirmed the presence of Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease. The athletic club voluntarily closed the hot tub after the positive test results were returned Dec. 13.

In addition, we shut all of our wet areas down, just on our own accord, because we’re very concerned,” general manager Carrie Sattler told the Yakima Herald. “We hyper-chlorinated all of our wet areas over the weekend.”

The health district was scheduled to re-test the facility today. The wet areas will remain closed until officials are confident the threat has been eliminated.

The condition of the two patients was not reported due to patient privacy regulations.

Members, recent visitors and employees of the club who are exhibiting symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease (see below) should immediately contact their physicians for care.

Third 2017 outbreak in Washington

Other Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks in the state of Washington this year include:

  • In August, two individuals became ill while patients at the University of Washington Medical Center. A woman in her 20s died, but she had multiple underlying conditions so it’s unclear whether Legionnaires’ caused her death. The other patient recovered.
  • In July, a hot tub at Gold’s Gym in Kennewick was the source of three illnesses. All three members recovered.

Legionnaires’ symptoms 

Legionnaires’ disease looks like other forms of pneumonia or even flu, which is why so many cases go unreported. Early symptoms can include:

  • chills
  • fever, sometimes 104 or higher
  • headaches
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle aches.

After the first few days, symptoms can worsen to include:

  • chest pain when breathing, due to inflamed lungs
  • confusion and agitation
  • a cough, which may bring up mucus and blood
  • diarrhea (about one-third of all cases result in gastrointestinal problems)
  • nausea and vomiting
  • shortness of breath.

The incubation period – the amount of time between contracting the bacteria and developing symptoms – is usually 2 to 10 days. It can, however, be as much as 16 days.

Who is at risk? 

Anyone can get the disease, but those at higher risk of infection include:

  • people 50 or older
  • smokers, current and former
  • heavy drinkers of alcohol
  • people with chronic lung disease
  • people with suppressed immune systems
  • organ-transplant recipients
  • individuals following specific drug protocols (for example, corticosteroids).