Legionnaires’ Disease Continues to Make Headlines at Resort Casinos From Las Vegas to Macau

Posted on: June 21, 2017, 03:00h. 

Last updated on: June 21, 2017, 03:10h.

Legionnaires’ disease still hasn’t checked out of The Parisian, Las Vegas Sands’ $2.7 billion lavish resort that opened just last fall.

Legionnaires' disease Las Vegas Macau
Legionnaires’ disease has stricken guests in both Las Vegas and Macau. (Image: Centers for Disease Control)

Legionnaires’ is a potentially serious bacterial infection that contaminates the lungs and often comes with symptoms resembling pneumonia. Though most healthy adults won’t develop severe illness from the disease, as the body is typically able to rid the bacteria, those with preexisting conditions are susceptible to more grave consequences.

In April, health officials detected Legionnaires’ disease at The Parisian after three men, aged 66, 70, and 84, tested positive after staying at the resort separately in December, January, and March. Sands said it immediately disinfected the water lines associated to where the guests stayed, but in a report this week from the Macau Health Bureau, legionella bacterial was found in the property’s most recent test.

Overstaying its welcome, “abnormal” levels of legionella was found, the Bureau said. The federal health agency didn’t reveal where the bacterial was spotted, and the resort remains open for business.

Worldwide Outbreak

Macau isn’t the only gambling town battling Legionnaires’. In Las Vegas, the Rio has also been in the process of cleaning its water system after two guests who stayed separately at the all-suites property fell ill to the disease.

Currently hosting the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the Rio says it’s working closely with the Southern Nevada Health District and “taking aggressive remediation actions to ensure the safety” of its water.

No deaths have been reported in either Macau or Las Vegas from Legionnaires’ disease, though one of the men in China reportedly remains in critical condition. In New York City, however, the infection has taken the life of an elderly man who was already battling significant health problems.

The New York City Health Department says six others have been sickened by Legionnaires’, with four patients still in the hospital.

Legionnaires’ is a bacterium commonly found in rivers and lakes. When it travels into water and cooling systems, it can multiply and infect humans. Large buildings like resorts are more susceptible to the disease due to their complex and vast ventilation and cooling systems.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ include fever, cough, chills, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle aches, confusion, and diarrhea.

WSOP Attendance Up

The WSOP is well underway, and if you’re considering venturing to Las Vegas in order to play in one of the 74 events, the detection of Legionnaires’ disease presents few concerns for healthy adults.

The Caesars property is hoping to improve on the 6,737 entrants into last year’s $10,000 buy-in Main Event.

It appears the thousands of poker players are entering the Rio floor aren’t being scared off by the bacterial outbreak. Attendance is up over the first three weekends of the tournament’s 49 days.

The $1,500 Millionaire Maker event attracted 7,761 entries, up eight percent on 2016. The Seniors Event (50+) and Super Seniors (65+) also soared in terms of participation, up 20 and 17 percent, respectively.