Two Northern Arizona University students were struck with Pontiac Fever after staying at theAria
in Las Vegas, which has been struggling with lingering bacteria problems.
Joseph Dougherty and Erika Keller arrived at the hotel on July 5, stayed two nights before driving back to Flagstaff, then fell seriously ill two days later, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Dougherty told the Review-Journal that he and his girlfriend had never been that sick in their lives, and had struggled with fever, chills, headaches, and vomiting that lasted two days. They went to a doctor after Dougherty's father, former New Times staff writer John Dougherty, found a report online about a recent outbreak of Legionnaires disease at the Aria.
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Pontiac fever is caused by the same bacterium as Legionnaires.
Nevada health officials sent out letters on July 14 to former guests, warning that people who'd stayed at the Aria from June 21 to July 4 were at risk because of "elevated" bacteria levels at the time. The experience of Dougherty and Keller seems to show the problem continued after July 4.
The Aria began a water-remediation program on July 5 and inspected a sample of the hotel's 4,000 rooms for contamination.
Six people are known to have contracted the sometimes-fatal Legionnaires disease since last year at the Aria, but all recovered, the article reports.