The pool and hot tub at the Best Western Hotel in Socorro, New Mexico were closed in May after at least two guests of the hotel contracted Legionnaires’ disease, beginning an investigation and remediation process that has continued into July. The New Mexico Department of Health informed the management at the Best Western on May 7th that two former guests of the hotel had become ill with Legionnaires’ disease.
After the closure, the State Health Department began its investigation, taking samples from the pool and hot tub. The New Mexico Independent reports that official water samples gathered from the hotel have tested positive for legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. Ravi Bhasker, owner of the Socorro Best Western, a doctor, and also the mayor of the town, said in Socorro County’s El Defensor Chieftain that the pool and hot tub would remain closed until July 9th, when the New Mexico Environment Department is scheduled to retest the water.
Though the hot tub remained closed during the investigation, Dr. Bhasker admitted to the El Defensor Chieftain in the same article that the hotel did not post a notice to guests of any danger of legionella exposure, insisting that “there was no on-going risk” to guests. So far, the New Mexico Department of Health will only confirm that two individuals became ill and that “they potentially contracted the disease in Socorro.” However, the legionella-positive water sample and the lack of any other reported source of exposure suggest the Best Western as the most likely source of the outbreak.
We will continue to bring you updates on this case as they arise.