If you’re heading to Cozumel anytime soon you may want to think twice about your choice of destination. The laid-back, Mexican island in the Caribbean and just a ferry ride from Playa del Carmen has reported an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at two popular hotel properties. Travelers were alerted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which is based in Atlanta. The CDC says that the outbreak is confined to just two resorts, the Regency Club Vacation Resort which is a timeshare property, and the Wyndham Cozumel Resort and Spa (formerly the Reef Club Cozumel).
Cancellation fees for current and future guests have been suspended at the Wyndham. Since May of 2008, there have been nine cases of Legionnaires’
disease confirmed among U.S. and Dutch visitors to the resorts. The most recent case was in October of last year, so the outbreak has continued on and off for more than two years.
A statement from Wyndham’s management said the water systems at the resort had been disinfected and have also been “monitored and approved by state and federal government health authorities in Mexico.”
Cozumel has long been a favorite of Minnesota tourists and is less than four hours away, non-stop, from the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport via both Delta and Sun Country airlines. It is a more traditional Mexican destination and far different from its lively, non-stop action neighbors to the west, Cancun and Riviera Maya. Cozumel has long been a favorite dive destination for visitors from around the globe.
A form of pneumonia, Legionnaires’ disease is transmitted by the inhalation of bacteria-contaminated water. Hot tubs, cooling towers, spray misters, showerheads and faucets are a common source of the bacteria. It is not transmitted between people. The disease was named during an outbreak at a American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976.
c.. Legionnaires disease
d.. Centers for Disease Control