reporting that 10 cases of legionellosis have been linked to the JW Marriott in downtown Chicago during the time period July 16 through August 15. Three of the infected persons have died. The epidemiologic investigation has determined that the epidemic strain has been found in a decorative fountain in the hotel lobby, as well as the swimming pool, whirlpool and locker rooms. Showerheads in guest rooms have not been found to be contaminated with the organism. The article also briefly mentions that "many" cases of Pontiac Fever, a less severe infection also caused by Legionella, are linked to the hotel.
Maybe we should just enjoy decorative water fountains outdoors. I'm aware of a recent case where infection prevention folks had to nix an architect's plan to construct an indoor water feature in a children's hospital despite reports of nosocomial legionellosis associated with these decorative fountains. Give us more sinks, not fountains!
Photo: Legionella culture under ultraviolet light. CDC.