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Health officials investigate 2 cases of Legionnaires' disease in Waikīkī hotel guests

Nursing homes and hospitals need to work harder to keep water systems from being contaminated with bacteria that cause Legionnaires' disease, the CDC says.
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Updated 8:20 a.m., Friday, March 25

The state Department of Health is investigating two cases of Legionnaires' disease in visitors who stayed at The Grand Islander by Hilton Grand Vacations in Waikīkī.

The first case was diagnosed in June 2021 and the second case was diagnosed on March 6 or 7, 2022.

“While the risk to the general public is low, cases of Legionnaires’ disease are on the rise nationwide,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble. “Individuals who stayed at the Hilton Grand Islander in the last two weeks who develop symptoms or individuals who were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after a stay at the Grand Islander are encouraged to seek medical attention and contact DOH.”

In an email statement sent to HPR, a Hilton Grand Vacations spokesperson said, "The Hawaii Department of Health informed Hilton Grand Vacations that an individual who recently visited Honolulu was diagnosed with Legionella upon returning home. This individual stayed at The Grand Islander, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club. Our team is following all guidance from the Hawaii Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a thorough investigation is conducted.

"The health and safety of our owners, guests and team members is our top priority. While the investigation is ongoing and it is not yet known how or where this individual was infected, out of an abundance of caution, we are taking several steps to ensure everyone’s safety, including temperature treating of systems, which was completed March 23. This non-chemical process is not harmful and only involves increasing water temperatures to systems at The Grand Islander.”

Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia caused by exposure to Legionella bacteria. The bacteria can spread in freshwater systems such as showerheads and sink faucets, hot tubs and large plumbing systems.

Most healthy people exposed to the bacteria do not develop Legionnaires' disease. The disease is treated with antibiotics and cannot spread from person to person.

Symptoms usually begin within two to 14 days of exposure and can include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headache.

The exact source of illness and extent of the recent spread are still being investigated, DOH said.

Call 808-586-4586 to reach DOH’s Disease Outbreak and Control Division Disease Reporting Line or click here to report an illness by email.

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