SNHD: Cases of Legionnaires' disease reported in guests at Rio All-Suite Hotel

LAS VEGAS - The Southern Nevada Health District is investigating two cases of Legionnaires’ disease. The cases were reported in guests who stayed separately at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

The guests were at the hotel in March and in April, the Health District said.  The hotel is assisting in the investigation and taking steps to provide information of the past and current guests saying on the property.

“Test results on the water at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino indicated the presence of the Legionella bacteria," said Richard Broome, EVP of Public Affairs & Corporate Communications for Caesars Entertainment.  "The company is working closely with the Southern Nevada Health District and taking aggressive remediation actions to ensure the safety of Rio's water. Out of an abundance of caution, we are relocating guests from rooms where remediation actions are being undertaken."

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria. Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by inhaling aerosol droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria. Sources of the aerosol can include showers, hot tubs, faucets, cooling towers, misters, and decorative fountains.

In response to the initial illness report, the property has also arranged for environmental testing of its water system. Facility testing results did indicate a presence of the Legionella bacteria, and the property initiated the appropriate remediation response of chlorine disinfection.

Following reports of the additional case, the Health District conducted sampling of the water system and identified Legionella bacteria throughout the system. The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino and the Health District are working together to conduct remediation and follow-up sampling to ensure remediation efforts are effective.

Most people exposed to Legionella will not get sick; however, it can cause severe illness and sometimes result in death. Generally, people do not spread Legionnaires’ disease to other people. Legionnaires’ disease symptoms are very similar to other types of pneumonia and can include a cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches.

Symptoms will usually begin within 2 to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria. However, people should watch for symptoms for about two weeks after exposure. 

Guests who stayed at the Rio more than two weeks ago and have not developed symptoms are not at risk for the disease. If guests of the property develop symptoms with 14 days of their stay, they should seek medical attention.

People who are at increased risk of getting sick include:

  • People 50 years or older
  • Current or former smokers
  • People with chronic lung disease
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who take drugs that can weaken their immune systems (after a transplant operation or
  • chemotherapy)
  • People with underlying illnesses such as diabetes, kidney failure, or liver failure

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