NAPA, CA — Napa County Public Health, in collaboration with CDC/CDPH and PBES – Environmental Health, has identified Legionella in two more sites, which have been undergoing cleaning and disinfection since last week. High levels of Legionella bacteria were identified from water samples taken from a decorative fountain and pond at Embassy Suites Napa Valley on California Blvd, and from a cooling tower at the Hall of Justice, 1125 Third Street, both in the City of Napa. Active cleaning and disinfection have been underway, prior to the availability of test results.
“We are confident that these additional sites no longer pose a risk to the public,” said Dr. Karen Relucio, Napa County Health Officer. “Staff from Public Health and PBES-Environmental Health have performed outreach to property managers of other cooling towers to perform remediation proactively, since Legionella contamination in one site can spread in the air and contaminate other sites.”
Twelve Napa County residents and one Solano County resident who was exposed in Napa, have been diagnosed and hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease since July 11, 2022. Ten people have recovered, two remain hospitalized, and one has died. The individual who passed away was over the age of 50 and had risk factors for severe disease.
Napa County residents, and people living or working in the City of Napa, with flu-like symptoms, cough, fever or difficulty breathing should contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible. People at risk can get Legionnaires’ disease by breathing in aerosolized (small droplets) water containing Legionella bacteria. Legionnaires’ disease is not spread from person to person and can be treated with antibiotics when caught early. Individuals at higher risk include those ages 50 and above, cigarette smokers, and people with chronic lung disease or compromised immune systems.
Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused by the bacteria Legionella, which grows in warm water. Aerosolized water can come from cooling towers (air-conditioning units for large buildings), hot tubs, cooling misters, decorative fountains, and plumbing systems.
Some strategies to prevent the growth of Legionella bacteria in the home are to
- Flush your faucets and showerheads if they haven’t been used recently
- Clean, disinfect, and maintain all devices that use water (e.g. humidifiers, respiratory therapy devices, showerhead and faucet aerators, water heaters, and hot tubs)
For additional instructions and guidance, please see the CDC Preventing Waterborne Germs at Home website.
This press release was produced by the Napa County Government. The views expressed here are the author’s own.