Lifestyle & Belief

Legionnaires' outbreak traced back to single hot tub


A lab researcher died after working with rare bacteria in a VA medical center.



An outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Staffordshire has been traced back to a single, disgusting hot tub. The hot tub is not owned by anyone. Rather, it is on display at the JTF Mega discount store, ITV News reported.

"We know that 17 of the 18 confirmed cases visited this warehouse in the two weeks before they fell ill," a The Health Protection Agency told BBC News. "We know that spa pools are known to be effective mechanisms for spreading the legionella infection and it can take up to two weeks following exposure for people to develop symptoms of Legionnaires' disease."

More from GlobalPost: When the BRICs crumble

Eighteen people so far have been sickened by the disease, and one person has died. Samples taken from a hot tub show that it contained an unusual strain of bacteria that matched the strain that infected the sick patients, the Press Association reported.

Legionnaires' is a serious type of lung infection that hospitalizes between 8,000 and 18,000 people in the United States each year, the CDC says. The bacteria is often found in hot tubs and other sources of warm water, but you can't catch it from another person. People don't have to swim to catch it though: they can become infected just by breathing in contaminated mist.