An article in the Virgin Islands Daily News indicates that five cases of Legionnaires’ disease, reported to the CDC between March 2010 and August 2011, have been traced back to two Marriott hotels on the Virgin Islands. Those who fell ill were hospitalized but have since recovered.
The VI Department of Health is working with the Centers for Disease Control to coordinate disinfection of the hotels’ water systems; a consultant has also been retained to oversee cleaning and treatment.
The health department also set a deadline for the resorts to notify guests of the risk of exposure to legionella, which was apparently not met. A statement issued by the resort did not address guest notification, and a general manager contacted by the Virgin Islands Daily News declined to comment.
Testing was performed by the CDC from October 18 to 22, and on November 3, the VI Department of Health relayed the test results to the hotels and instructed management to enact a comprehensive water treatment plan that includes superheating and chlorination. Test results so far apparently do not indicate a presence of legionella bacteria in the hotels’ water systems, but the CDC has yet to review these results, according to the article.
The health department alerted the public of the ongoing remediation efforts this past Monday, December 12, 2011.
“Major renovation” was completed at the resort during the summer of 2011. Some experts have suggested a link between recent construction or renovation work and the propagation of legionella bacteria in new plumbing systems.
Updates of this potential outbreak will be made when they are available.