There were two confirmed cases of the disease that led to its
discovery, and so far that is all. Both were out-of-state residents.
One case was a 90-year-old woman from Indiana who was recovering
from pneumonia in the hospital but unexpectedly died on March 19.
The other person was treated and recovered.
The Logan County
Health Department staff worked with the Illinois Department of
Public Health. In phase one they contacted all guests of the motel,
about 800 people from all across the U.S. who had stayed at the
motel between Jan. 1 and March 7.
By March 16 they had reached nearly everyone and moved on to the
secondary list of people who were friends or family of the people
who had shown any possible symptoms and had gone to pool parties
together and may have spread the disease after they went home, said
Margie Harris, assistant administrator and director of nursing at
the Logan County Health Department.
The motel has been very helpful, Harris said. It was a busy time,
but everyone was cooperative and it all went smoothly, she said.
The disease is acquired by breathing mist or swallowing
bacteria-contaminated water. It is important to know that it is not
contagious and is not passed from person to person, Harris said.
The disease first shows symptoms two to 10 days after exposure.
The symptoms are like flu, only with a little higher fever, and can
lead to pneumonia. Some people never get sick. Some get a mild case
that clears up on its own. A few develop a severe case that could
lead to death.
People who were called and reported symptoms were advised to see
their doctor and get tested, which is a simple urine test. Some had
already been to the doctor because of experiencing symptoms and had
been treated with antibiotics that would work.
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Healthy people usually get over it on their own, but there are
some who don't and it requires use of specific antibiotics for
Additional calls were made to health departments in states where
the contact list guests lived, and county health departments
throughout Illinois were notified. The Logan County Health
Department also notified all doctors' offices and area health
facilities to watch for patients complaining of symptoms and
notified labs to be prepared for testing.
Logan County Health Department administrator Mark Hilliard said
their investigation is slowing. We continue to talk to people who
are just learning about it, that maybe just got back from vacation
and found the message on their phone recorder, he said. It's been at
least one a day, up to yesterday. There hadn't been any calls yet by
Their investigation yielded the following:
160 reported being
ill within two weeks after their stay at the motel.
49 saw a physician.
They were from 19
The ages ranged from
2 to 90.
The median age was
The source of the waterborne bacteria was from the swimming pool.
It was closed and sealed off. The pool was drained and the filters
sterilized. The state of Illinois, the agency that does the pool
inspections, will test before the pool is reopened.