A Dark Horse Candidate: Legionellosis Cluster Associated with Working at a Racetrack Facility – West Virginia, 2018

  • Over the course of one month, six workers in an office building got sick with Legionnaires’ disease. We found that at least 11 other workers in the same building had also been sick with suspected Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever during the same time frame. Our team investigated all possible sources of Legionella the workers could have been directly exposed to. We found that a hot tub one floor below the office space was not well maintained. This hot tub was likely the cause of the outbreak.
  • However, many of the sick workers had no direct exposure to the hot tub. With help from the Respiratory Health Division in CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, we examined how air moved in the building. We found many ways mist containing Legionella could travel from the hot tub into the office space area. This finding of indirect exposure is a new concept in Legionella outbreaks.
  • Our investigation provides evidence that both direct and indirect exposure to a Legionella source can cause illness. This investigation supports analysis of ventilation systems and airflow dynamics as part of public health prevention strategies and in future investigations of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks.
Quote from the Disease Detective

“The teamwork highlighted in our investigation by epidemiologists, medical officers, environmental health officers, and occupational health specialists shows that collaboration is paramount to solving some of today’s public health mysteries. It is my hope that our findings will inform future Legionella outbreaks so that people indirectly exposed can be identified and the source of the bacteria can be found more quickly.”

– Jared Rispens, MD, EIS Class of 2018

EIS Officer Jared Rispens, MD (left), and CDC Environmental Health Officer Troy Ritter[JPG - 2 MB]

EIS Officer Jared Rispens, MD (left), and CDC Environmental Health Officer Troy Ritter, PhD, REHS, DAAS, at a cooling tower during the investigation in West Virginia

EIS Officer Jared Rispens, MD, tests the pH and chlorine content of water[JPG - 897 KB]

EIS Officer Jared Rispens, MD, tests the pH and chlorine content of water during an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness on a cruise ship

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Conference Information
Jared Rispens


Jared Rispens, MD,
EIS Class of 2018
CDC National Center for Environmental Health
Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice

Education: MD: Michigan State University, 2014
BA: Calvin College, 2009
Resident (Internal Medicine /Pediatrics):Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinios ,2014-Present

Work Experience: Gross Anatomy LaboratoryTeaching Assistant, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2010-2010
Pharmacy Technician, Walgreens Pharmacy, Lansing, Illinios, 2005-2006

Volunteer Experience: Physician Volunteer, Franciscan Homeless Shelter, Chicago, Illinois, 2014-Present
Class Lecturer and Mentor, Crane Medical Preparatory High School, Chicago, Illinois, 2016-Present