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Contagious illness concerns spread at fitness club

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Most of the club remains open as the spa and steam room undergoes inspection and cleaning. Most of the club remains open as the spa and steam room undergoes inspection and cleaning.
A spike in the number of Legionnaires cases occurred during and after the May 2010 floods. A spike in the number of Legionnaires cases occurred during and after the May 2010 floods.
Common symptoms include shortness of breath, high fever, muscle aches, and headaches. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, high fever, muscle aches, and headaches.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Three individuals received medical attention for Legionella pneumonia, also called Legionnaires' disease, after using the spa and steam room at a Memphis fitness club.

24-Hour Fitness on Ridgeway Road and the Shelby County Health Department teamed up to ensure that in the future members will stay healthy at the club, rather than get sick.

Most of the club remains open as the spa and steam room undergoes inspection and cleaning.

Staff closed the spa and steam room until further notice after three members who used the area on separate occasions were diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease.

"We don't see pneumonia like we did at one time, but it's still a very common disease," said Dr. Helen Morrow with the Shelby County Health Department.

Morrow said a spike in the number of Legionnaires cases occurred during and after the May 2011 floods.

"This particular bacteria likes to live in warm moist places ... It's not passed from person to person. It's considered a community acquired pneumonia," said Morrow. "It's in the water supply and you catch it by breathing the droplets of water that are contaminated with this particular germ."

A letter from the club to members advised anyone who visited between May 21 to June 21 and experienced symptoms to seek medical help. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, high fever, muscle aches, and headaches. Although potentially fatal, it is also easily treatable in most cases.

In a written statement, the health club said it is fixing the problem:

"We are working closely with the Shelby County Health Department at this time and are performing a comprehensive inspection and cleaning of the impacted areas of our club. In the best interest of our members and staff, these amenities will remain closed until the work is completed. We hope to minimize any inconvenience to our members."

Morrow says the elderly are more susceptible to Legionnaires effects. She said the disease was first identified in 1976 after an outbreak in Philadelphia at an American Legion conference.

Click here to read the letter from 24 Hour Fitness.

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