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Fifth case of Legionnaires' disease confirmed at Round Rock hotel

A Round Rock hotel has voluntarily closed as Williamson County health officials investigate a possible Legionnaires' disease outbreak. (CBS Austin)

UPDATE: Fifth case of Legionnaires' disease has been confirmed at the SpringHill Suites in Williamson County.

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A Round Rock hotel has voluntarily closed as Williamson County health officials investigate a possible Legionnaires' disease outbreak.

The possible outbreak is at the SpringHill Suites located at 2960 Hoppe Trail.

According to Williamson County Health officials, four people were infected after visiting the hotel between June 25 and October 2. Hotel officials said a fifth person who may have been affected has been identified.

A statement from the hotel says they recently received notice that the investigation by the Williamson County Health District centers on five people who had been at the hotel in the summer.

The hotel says it has already used a third-party firm to remediate any environmental health issues and they are working with investigators to identity a possible source of the contamination.

The hotel was voluntarily closed to guests on Wednesday. It's expected to remain closed until it clears all inspections, which could take approximately three weeks, officials with the hotel said. Guests with reservations that needed to be moved were relocated to nearby hotels.

One traveler said he was supposed to stay at the Springhill Suites, and is glad he wasn’t there at the time people were infected.

"Very scary. I'm here with my 89-year-old dad for my uncle's 90th birthday, and we have all of our children with us, so certainly something that's not comforting,” said Manny Gonzalez.

Legionnaires' disease typically affects people who are older than 50-years-old. It is a form of atypical pneumonia caused by any type of Legionella bacteria. Signs and symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle pains, and headaches. The bacterium is found naturally in fresh water. It can contaminate hot water tanks, hot tubs, and cooling towers of large air conditioners. It is usually spread by breathing in mist that contains the bacteria.

Gonzalez said an incident like this makes him rethink how he decides which hotel to stay in.

"We never thought of public health issues, but obviously we have to look into that for our next booking,” Gonzalez said.

The Springhill Suites hopes to reopen October 24, after passing inspections.


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