New: Possible Legionella exposure at Quapaw Baths & Spa in Hot Springs

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark,- Quapaw Bath and Spa making headlines once again with a positive test of legionella.

The Arkansas Department of Health has again received environmental test results showing the presence of legionella bacteria at the Quapaw Bath and Spa in Hot Springs.

This positive is not a false positive as the last one back in August.

“In this case, the organism was detected in two different ways and those are final results,” said Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, Outbreak Response, Arkansas Department Of Health.

Even with the positive test, business has not slowed down at the spa.

“That is a little scary, I guess I just have to have faith that I’m not going to get sick,” said Lisa Sekreak, Quapaw Spa Visitor.

Lisa Sekreak had spent the day at Quapaw with her husband for his birthday. She said they had no idea about the positive legionella results.

“Well we had a great spa day, it will just be in the back of my head, oh I hope I don’t get sick,” said Sekreak.

Dr. Dillaha explains how the bacteria may have grown in the tempered water. She said the thermal water from the springs is very hot, too hot for legionella to grow but when that water is cooled (becoming tempered water) that’s when it is possible for legionella to grow.

“So of course the showers just comes right out of the showerhead and your not able to disinfect that water so those showers are not being used anymore,” said Dr. Dillaha, “now they also use water from the same source in the baths and so to make that water safe they are using chlorine to disinfect it.”

“I’m glad that they are keeping on top of this but it is kind of leary though if this has happened a second time,” said Sekreak.

Dr. Dillaha said going forward there is no immediate concern. The concern is with the customers who have visited in the last 30 days, who possibly came in contact with the legionella bacteria.

Quapaw Bath and Spa released a statement reading:

“We are fully cooperating with National Park Service and Arkansas Department about a potential issue in regards to untreated thermal water at Hot Springs National Park. We believe there needs to be a serious examination and determination of the source.
Out of an abundance of caution, one shower area of our facility is temporarily closed but our pools, baths, steam caves, spa and other luxurious amenities are all open and servicing our highly valued clients.
Back in August, Quapaw closed temporarily following a false alarm that erroneously indicated a potential threat to public health.
To be clear, over the past 12 years Quapaw has received a 100 percent clean bill of health, and thousands of tests have confirmed the lack of any health threats.
We have always and will continue to take far-reaching steps to provide a healthy and memorable experience for all Quapaw visitors.”

Quapaw Bath & Spa

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