After five months of the outbreak of the Legionnaires' disease was reported at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, NV, the number of confirmed cases of pneumonia - like bacterial illness among guests has risen to seven, with about 29 more cases suspected. This was per the reports of the Southern Nevada Health District which they released on Tuesday. In the meantime, the cleaning and testing of the water system of the hotel is continuing to ensure the disease has been completely eradicated. Health experts are of the viewpoint that it is the normal timeline for a Legionnaires' outbreak investigation.
Robert Cole who is the health district's senior environmental health specialist said that in this type of situation, a part of the process of these investigations on an environmental aspect is continued testing and monitoring. Cole also mentioned that often the process that includes precautionary disinfection of water systems will continue for up to a year. The investigation started in the month of June after two people who stayed at the Rio separately in March and April tested positive for the disease. The hotel's Ipanema Court and Masquerade Village towers which are on the building's south end were disinfected in early June.
According to Kimberly Hertin who is the health district's disease surveillance supervisor said that from that time, the health district has received notifications of the illness among guests who left Las Vegas and were diagnosed in their hometowns. She added that the timing of those exposures is still not clear and hence the district is leaving the investigation open while those reports trickle in. In addition to the outbreak of Legionnaires, a report in the month of October from the health district stated that there were 56 suspected cases of influenza-like Pontiac fever, a milder illness that is caused by the same bacteria, at the hotel, for a total of about 92 suspected cases that are related to the outbreak.
Cole has confirmed that the staff of the Rio Hotel had launched a third disinfection procedure on the 3rd of November as a precautionary measure. All the recent tests of the water systems of the hotel showed low or no presence of the Legionella bacteria and guests are not currently at risk for infection. Cole has said that the results from the latest disinfection of the water system will be available by the end of the month which makes the scenario clear.