The Marriott St. Louis West hotel will close for several hours Saturday for cleaning after preliminary tests of the hotel’s water supply tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease, a particularly serious form of pneumonia.
Two unrelated guests of the Marriott were diagnosed with the disease after stays at the hotel at 660 Maryville Drive in October, prompting an investigation by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services along with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Officials warned past guests of the hotel that they may have been exposed to Legionnaires’ through the hotel’s water supply after preliminary tests at the hotel came back positive for Legionella germs in the hotel’s cooling tank, which is used for the hotel’s showers and drinking water. Officials say more testing is needed before they can confirm the hotel was the source of the germs.
The hotel will close at noon Saturday so its water systems can be drained, flushed and disinfected with a “hyper-chlorinating” process — the recommended treatment for any presence of Legionella — according to a news release. The hotel expects guests will be able to return Sunday.
State officials did not ask Marriott to close the hotel but hotel management decided the “most extreme action available” should be completed as quickly as possible to “maintain a safe environment in the property.”
Legionnaires’ disease normally spreads when people breathe in water vapor containing the bacteria, but officials say the disease does not typically spread from person to person.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches. People infected with the disease may also exhibit symptoms of confusion, nausea or diarrhea. Risk of infection may be higher for people older than 50 and people who smoke or have certain medical conditions, including a weakened immune system.
Health officials advise anyone who develops symptoms of pneumonia within two weeks of staying at the Marriott to ask a doctor to conduct both urine and respiratory culture tests and to report confirmed cases to the state health department.
Source: St. Louis Today