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Outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease linked to N.H. campsites

New Hampshire public health officials have linked a pair of campgrounds in Meredith, N.H. to an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease that sickened five people between fall 2021 and January, officials said Tuesday.

All five were hospitalized, according to a statement from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, and all had stayed at the Meredith Woods and Clearwater Campground complex before getting sick. They all recovered.

“Anybody choosing to stay at this facility should be aware of the ongoing outbreak investigation and potential risk for exposure to Legionella bacteria through the facility’s water system,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan, the state epidemiologist.


Chan said public health officials are working with the facility “to implement a water management plan, prevent further water system contamination, and prevent future Legionella infections,” Chan said. “Anybody who has stayed at this facility in the last couple of weeks and develops pneumonia or fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, headache and muscles aches, should talk to their healthcare provider about testing for Legionella infection, which can impact treatment decisions.”

Meredith Woods and Clearwater Campground are located across from each other off Route 104. A Clearwater employee said Wednesday that the campground had no comment. Meredith Woods couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Environmental testing at the facility showed Legionella pneumophila bacteria contamination in the water system at several locations and additional areas could be contaminated, officials said.

Legionnaire’s disease is a type of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria. Most people exposed to the bacteria won’t get sick, but it can cause severe illness and can sometimes be fatal if left untreated. Carriers of the disease don’t spread it to other people, officials said.

The onset of symptoms usually occurs within 2 to 14 days after exposure. Campers who develop symptoms within two weeks of their stay at the campgrounds should contact their health providers and seek medical attention and testing, officials said.


On its website, the CDC says that people “can get sick [with Legionnaire’s disease] when they breathe in small droplets of water or accidently swallow water containing Legionella into the lungs.”

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.