• Legionnaires' disease claims life of Burke Co. woman, 3rd NC death

    By: Dave Faherty

    Updated:

    MORGANTON, N.C. - North Carolina health officials say a third person has died of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease linked to a hot tub display at a fair.

    [OUTBREAK: Legionnaires' disease cases confirmed across NC]

    Burke County health officials confirmed a resident died last week after battling Legionnaires’ disease.

    The state health agency said the cases are connected to people who attended the Mountain State Fair last month in Fletcher. It says testing found Legionalla bacteria in one water sample at the fair and those who were diagnosed with the disease may have walked by the hot tub displays.

    Lula Hudson died Thursday after contracting the deadly bacteria.

    Hudson, 89, of Morganton, visited the N.C. Mountain State Fair last month and was later hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease.

    She got sick about five days after returning from the fair but it was another week and a half before it was confirmed she had Legionnaires’ disease.

    “I still can’t talk about it without getting choked up, because I have lost a wonderful neighbor and a wonderful friend,” said Pat Williams, Hudson’s neighbor.

    The North Carolina Health Department said 140 cases of Legionnaires' have been confirmed in 19 North Carolina counties and "multiple states." It said in addition to the three deaths, 94 people have been hospitalized.

    Phyllis Banner went to church with Hudson and visited her nearly every day at the hospital before she died.

    She hopes her death will encourage others to learn more about the disease.   

    “She was just special,” Banner said. “She was a hard worker – honest -- took care of her family.”

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