Hotel closed for Legionnaires' Disease outbreak re-opens

- The Round Rock hotel where health officials said six people contracted a disease carrying pneumonia-like symptoms is back open. Health officials said it is once again safe to stay there.

On October 4th the Williamson County Health District ordered SpringHill Suites in Round Rock to close its doors after five guests and an employee tested positive for legionnaires disease.

"All of them were hospitalized. General symptoms of this were respiratory distress and pneumonia, usually people presented with pneumonia and that's how they got tested,” said Catherine Zettel Nalen.

Director of environmental health, Catherine Zettel Nalen, said tests determined that bacteria in the filtration system for the pool and hot tub was the source of the outbreak.

"This bacteria is found in what we call a biofilm and that's sort of that slimy substance, a lot of people will get it in their showers it's a pink color and what that does is it traps the bacteria and it feeds on the biofilm. So a lot of times if pipes aren't used very often or there's a stagnant spot the bacteria will grow in there,” said Zettel Nalen.

Zettel nalen said the hotel used a third party to remediate the system. The hotel has been instructed to keep the pool and hot tub closed until post-remediation test results come back.

Nalen said there are long-term plans in place to keep the public safe.

"They're going to test for the next six months and they have been provided to from their third party environmental consultant a water safety plan and that's a long term plan for testing, making sure the pipes are clean, making sure that water system is flushed regularly,” said Zettel Nalen.

As for those who fell ill, Zettel Nalen says none have died. Health officials said one in seven cases are typically fatal.

"We haven't had any new reports which has been great. Some of the people have recovered so you know we're certainly hoping for the best for the rest of them,” said Zettel Nalen.
 

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