Search for source of 4 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease underway in Hancock County

HANCOCK COUNTY, W.Va. — No timeline was being put on work to identify the source of four cases of Legionnaires’ disease confirmed in Hancock County.

“We are doing an active investigation,” said Jackie Huff, administrator for the Hancock County Health Department, said on Wednesday.

It was Monday when she said the department was first notified of the potential cases.

“We’re gathering all the information on those positives — contact information and also lab reports and testing, hospital reports, those types of things.”

Legionnaires’ disease is an infection with similarities to pneumonia that’s caused by the Legionella pneumophila bacterium which can be found in potable and non-potable water systems.

“You can’t really catch it from someone else,” explained Huff. “It’s usually in an environmental setting with water.”

Most people get Legionnaires’ disease from inhaling the bacteria.

As of Wednesday morning, Huff said no commonalities had been identified among the four people affected.

“It’s an ongoing investigation and we have assistance from the state health department as well as our local partners and we’re working with a lot of people to try to get to the source,” she said.

Huff confirmed Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort was one of the locations being investigated as a potential starting point for outbreak.

“They as well as a lot of other places in our community,” Huff told MetroNews.

Live racing at Mountaineer was suspended on Sunday for, what casino officials said, were “improvements at our racetrack.”

The suspension continues through Nov. 7.

“Our casino, hotel, and restaurants will not be affected during this temporary closure. We apologize for any inconvenience,” a Mountaineer statement said.

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