MIAMI - About 300 guests have been moved from a luxury Miami hotel after Legionnaires’ disease struck at least three former guests since October.
Health officials said yesterday that one former guest at the EPIC Hotel died at the end of October after leaving for a cruise. The other two guests fell ill in November.
Investigators found the hotel installed a water filter powerful enough to remove chlorine from its city-supplied water, encouraging bacterial growth.
Current guests were sent to nearby hotels Saturday to prevent potential contact with the bacterial disease that can be transmitted by contaminated water, water vapor, or soil.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 8,000 to 18,000 patients are hospitalized each year with Legionnaire’s disease, named after a 1979 outbreak of a respiratory infection among people attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.
The disease cannot be transmitted by human contact. It particularly affects older people, smokers, and those with weakened immune systems. While the illness can be fatal, it is usually cured with antibiotics.