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Hot Tub Displays Likely Caused Legionnaires’ Cases At Fair

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North Carolina Mountain State Fair
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North Carolina Mountain State Fair

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina health officials say hot tub displays inside a building at a fair are likely to blame for an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease last month.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said on its webpage Thursday that early findings show that people diagnosed with the disease likely visited the Davis Event Center at the Mountain State Fair last month and walked by the hot tub displays.

According to the department, early results from laboratory testing of environmental samples identified Legionella bacteria in one water sample taken from the event center. Results are still pending from other samples taken in the investigation.

The department says 124 cases of Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever had been reported as of Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem says officials have banned the use of mist fans and are telling fairgoers they cannot bring hand-held mist fans to guard against a similar outbreak of Legionnaires' disease. The fair opens on Friday.

Spokeswoman Siobhan Olson says the fair is following guidelines established by the N.C. Department of Agriculture. Olson also says the fair’s lone water ride will be disinfected daily, and drinking fountains will be available for fairgoers inside a building adjacent to the fairgrounds.