MDH investigating Legionnaires’ cases linked to Albert Lea hotel

Minnesota health officials are investigating recent cases of Legionnaires’ disease that have been linked to a hotel in Albert Lea.

The Minnesota Department of Health is warning anyone who stayed at the Ramada by Wyndham Albert Lea and spent time in the pool and hot tub area around the last weekend of June to seek medical care if they feel ill. MDH said it has two lab-confirmed cases so far. One was hospitalized but has been discharged, while the other remains hospitalized.

Legionnaires’ disease is spread by inhaling the fine spray from water sources, which contains Legionella bacteria, MDH said. However, the disease isn’t spread from person to person. The time before experiencing symptoms after being exposed to the bacteria can be up to 14 days.

MDH said the hotel has worked with investigators and shut down its spa area on June 29. It is now working with MDH to clean and decontaminate the area.

"If you spent time at the hotel between June 22 and June 29 and are ill now, or if you develop illness in the two weeks following your visit, please see a health care provider to be evaluated for possible Legionnaires’ disease," Kris Ehresmann, director of the infectious disease division at MDH, said.

Symptoms of Legonnaires’ disease include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and coughing. The disease can be severe, so prompt diagnosis and treatment is important, according to MDH. People over 50 or with medical conditions or weakened immune systems are at the greatest risk.