Epic Hotel Epicly Sickens Guests

We'll now take bottled water with room service, thanks.

It's one of the things you'd dispute if it showed up on your room folio, but Legionnaire's disease isn't detectable by even the most sharp-eyed hotel guests.

It is, however, detectable by scientists, who have found that an outbreak of the rare pneumonia seemingly linked to the Epic Hotel in downtown Miami appears the fault of contaminated water. Samples taken from the property revealed chlorine levels are not high enough to prevent bacterial growth, according to an advisory issued to guests by the Miami-Dade County Health Department.

For one guest, the warning came too late. An unidentified foreign visitor has died after contracting Legionnaires, though officials didn't say when, and two other cases linked to the Epic have been confirmed since October.

The hotel has voluntarily relocated approximately 400 guests, and according to a spokesperson continues to work with the Health Department to thoroughly inspect the water system.

Legionnaires' is believed to only spread through water entering a person's lungs; buildling ventilation systems and water supplies are typically at fault. The disease was so named when the bacteria Legionella was first discovered in 1977 after an outbreak of illness at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.

Symptoms include pneumonia, chest pain, cough, and fever; though well-known, there are only 8,000-18,000 cases per year requiring hostpitalization, and the fatality rate of those is 5-40%.

The Epic is closed to visitors and has not given a re-opening date.

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