MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – The Shelby County Health Department has reported that the number of those who have contracted legionnaire’s disease from staying at the Guest House at Graceland has risen to five.
Officials with the health department say they can’t explain why there have been so many cases of Legionnaires’ in Memphis in the past three years. It’s not an epidemic, and there are no certain areas or facilities that are immune to the disease.
WATCH: A 5th person has Legionnaires’ after staying at the Guest House at Graceland.
The most recent outbreak was a week ago at the Guest House at Graceland. There are now five cases, and there could be more. The pool and spa are still closed.
Last July, the Laquinta inn off Millbranch in Whitehaven was temporarily shut down after the health department found more than five cases of Legionnaires’ disease.
In July 2013, three people reported contracting Legionnaires’ disease after visiting the 24 Hour Fitness on Ridgeway in east Memphis.
Symptoms are similar to the flu. They typically include cough, high fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches. It takes 2 to 14 days for symptoms to appear.
Legionnaires’ cannot be transferred from person to person. People get it by inhaling mist or vapor containing the bacteria, so it thrives in water in warm, moist environments, and may be spread through air conditioning.
“It’s when we have more than one or two cases that are associated with a given area that we really have to respond as public health professionals to ensure that no one else gets sick,” says Dr. Alisa Haushalter, the Director of the Shelby County Health Department.
“We’re also going to document other things they did when they were here visiting Memphis, just in case there is another source,” says David Sweat, Chief of Epidemiology with the health department.
If you visited the Guest House at Graceland between May 15th and June 26th, contact the Shelby County Health Department if you notice symptoms related to the disease. (901) 222-9299.