Photo by Tanner Newton
Bacteria, which can cause serious illness, were found in water in a Hot Springs bath, the Arkansas Department of Health said Friday.
Legionella, a bacterium that can cause a form of pneumonia called Legionnaires' disease, has been identified. in untreated water at Quapaw Baths & Spa.
The untreated water is separated from the drinking water system, according to the department, and the water in open drinking fountains is safe to use.
The baths remain open as long as the state and federal health officials monitor the situation and receive sanatoriums to address the issue.
In August, the Kuapau bath closed shortly after bacteria were detected in several areas of the resort; it reopened a week later. Last year, three visitors to the sanatorium contracted Legionnaires' disease, but a spokesman for the National Park Service said it was unclear whether these cases were a direct result of the visit to the baths.
Humans can catch bacteria by breathing affected water droplets in the air. The bacterium does not cause disease in most exposed people, the department said.
It can cause severe illness in some cases, especially among those over 50 years of age, smokers, those with weakened immune systems, or patients with underlying diseases such as diabetes or liver failure.
Symptoms usually begin two to 1
The department is working with Hot Springs National Park to combat bacteria. The department encourages those who have visited the sanatorium and believes that they may become ill as a result of seeing a doctor and report it to the department if they have been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease.
The disease can be treated with antibiotics.  Sponsor Content