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March 5, 1997

Legionnaires Disease Associated With a Whirlpool Spa Display—Virginia, September-October 1996

JAMA. 1997;277(9):705-706. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540330029014

CONTAMINATED whirlpool spas have been reported as a source of legionellosis. This report describes the preliminary findings of an ongoing investigation by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and CDC of a recent outbreak of Legionnaires disease in Virginia, which implicated a whirlpool spa display at a retail store as the source of infection.

On October 15,1996, a district health department in southwestern Virginia contacted the Office of Epidemiology, VDH, about a hospital (hospital A) report that 15 patients had been admitted during October 12-13 with unexplained pneumonia. On October 21, another hospital (hospital B), located approximately 15 miles from hospital A, reported its pneumonia census to be higher than expected for the first 2 weeks of October.

On October 23, the district health department was informed about three area residents with legionellosis (with Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 [Lpl] antigen detected in urine); one was