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New Case Of Legionnaires' Disease Reported By Person Who Visited Site After Fair Ended

NC Mountain State Fair
The Davis Event Center has been identified as the site of Legionella bacteria contamination.

A new case of Legionnaires' disease has been reported by a person who visited the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center -- the site of the Mountain State Fair -- after the fair ended, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday.

The person who contracted the illness attended the Quilt Show held at the WNC Ag Center Sept. 27-29. The Mountain State Fair ended Sept. 15, and 140 cases of Legionnaries' disease or Pontiac Fever (a milder form of the illness) had been reported by people who attended the fair Sept. 6-15. 

The health department identified a hot tub display in the Davis Event Center as the suspected source of contamination.

To date, this is the only case of Legionnaires' disease resulting from someone who did not attend the Mountain State Fair. Health officials visited the WNC Ag Center on Sept. 25 and 27 and did not identify any significant sources of aerosolized water -- the way Legionnaires' disease is spread.

"We don't know how or where this person might have been exposed to the Legionella bacteria," said Zack Moore, State Epidemiologist. "It is possible that they were exposed at the WNC Ag Center, but Legionella bacteria are very common in the environment, so we can't rule out exposure in another location."

Jodie Valade has been a Digital News and Engagement Editor for WFAE since 2019. Since moving to Charlotte in 2015, she has worked as a digital content producer for NASCAR.com and a freelance writer for publications ranging from Charlotte magazine to The Athletic to The Washington Post and New York Times. Before that, Jodie was an award-winning sports features and enterprise reporter at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. She also worked at The Dallas Morning News covering the Dallas Mavericks — where she became Mark Cuban's lifelong email pen pal — and at The Kansas City Star. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Education from John Carroll University. She is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan.