Harvey Convention Center was closed on Thursday as the investigation into a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak there continues.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following comments represent a sampling from readers on our Facebook page.

Alecia Bryant: What about the a/c system?? Wouldn’t an airborne disease possibly contaminate the Air Conditioning??

JoAnne Brawner Osborne: Thanks! You asked the question I have. Assuming the hot tubs were inside the Hall, I pray whoever is doing what is necessary to clean the Hall ventilating system.

Sharon Muckleroy Tharp: Alecia Bryant I agree the air vents are most likely. Hell the hot tubs are fresh water and clean. That air handling system at Harvey is old.

Jessica Bricarell: Alecia Bryant I work in pollution insurance, and legionella is something our policy picks up so we’re always looking at “what is the risk of legionella exposure?” Legionella is not airborne, it can become airborne if the bacteria gets into small droplets of water and then is inhaled. In this case...the hot tub contained legionella and the bacteria was in the steam from the water that came from the hot tub. The legionella bacteria resides in water, so it’s not realistic for it to come from the AC. What more than not makes you sick from AC/HVAC system is mold.

Rick Alfaro: HOT TUBS? Who had that bright idea?

Kristi Griffin: Didn’t they just have the comic con there. If they think this building is contaminated why did they have it?

BillynSam: Reynolds Comes off in the steam.

Helen Terry: No one got Legionnaires at the Rose Ball in October.

Ashley Hayes Turlington: Helen Terry if the hot tubs were, in fact, the source of contamination, then they wouldn’t have or it’s very unlikely.

Helen Terry: A hot tub Legionnaires situation happened in North Carolina. If it had been Harvey then dozens would have been infected.

Christine Harper: Dump!! Burn that place down.

Bubba Parker: Abundance of caution? 2 mos. after the fact...

Tonya Whoopi Branam: Who uses a hot tub at the fair?

Melody Thomas Evans: Tonya Whoopi Branam that is what I was thinking also.

Tonya Whoopi Branam: Melody Thomas Evans figured someone else would research it for me if I sounded puzzled lol.

Alecia Bryan: Tonya Whoopi Branam the disease is airborne.

Cookie Roach: It was hot tub displays, not in use.

Brittanny Gordon: Tonya Whoopi Branam they breathed in steam/mist from the hot tubs. They weren’t using them.

Morgan Kidd Garner: Or maybe if they touched the water with their hands...and then touched everything else at the fair.

Samantha Liles: Melissa Dornak Hopefully that means it wasn’t in the plumbing or a/c!

Cookie Roach: Water had to come from the center, so...

Ramsay McKeithen: Who thinks of going to the fair to get in a hot tub? That’s worse than a motel swimming pool.

Sylvia Cozart: Extend the caution to our schools!!! There are tons of kids that keep getting sick and are out of school. Tyler look in to it! Thank God thanksgiving break is here.

Rechel Everson: Sylvia Cozart great idea.

Tonya Whoopi Branam: I remember well when Legionnaires was named. Even if you didnt pay attention to the news theres no way to not remember that time as much as it was talked about...a medical panic...1976 (I had to refresh the year). Following close on its heels was the aids epidemic at first unexplained. It was some very strange times.

Sally Garza Medina: What about all them old buildings on the side people buy food from? They should tear down and rebuild, they charge $12 to enter, so remodel!

James McFarlane: Control the biofilm and you can control the legionella...

Jessica Davis: Check the water that was being misted onto the people in the petting zoo area!!! It was located just outside the Harvey Hall. Everyone was breathing the mist in, and all the poop and shavings were being shoveled around while guests were present.

Renae Meservey: Should have been shut down when they linked Harvey Hall during the Fair. CDC should have put this into place!!! It’s about time they close it. Figure out why, how, where....

Mel Durose: We’ve been to events there since the fair. Hopefully they test & can rule it out as the actual place it is being contracted from or treat it ASAP.

Cookie Roach: Should have been done when all cases showed mutual timeframe at same location. Smh.

DeAnn Crosland Fox: There were also bats flying in and out of the vents. Also, do you realize that Smith County does not have it’s own Health Dept? They contract out to NET.

Ben Allen: It’s old and it’s a dump. We are long past time to tear it down and build a nice new facility.

Karen Rumbley: Did any of the exhibitors happen to be selling diffusers?

Scott Plummer: There was a hot tub display. Bubbling away. Legionnaires is known to be in hot tub tubing. I doubt they can prove it at this late date... Hot tubs are extreme breeding grounds for bacteria, legionnaires being one of them.

Shelby Ramirez: Scott Plummer I noticed they had one at the oil palace this past weekend. I’m waiting for an outbreak to prove it was the demo.

Scott Plummer: Shelby Ramirez , they’ve probably sanitized it since hearing of the outbreak at the fair... Hot tub dealers are aware of the problem but know it can’t be proven before they sanitize and are long gone.

LaShaundra McGee: I need to know if the food booths have been assessed....

Barbara Smith: It’s about time.

Rhonda Mck: Oh great what about mistletoe!!

Shannon Hillard Logan: Smart decision. It should have happened already.

Tracey Williams Shannon: Gives new meaning to Mistletoe and “Magic” doesn’t it? No thanks.

Shannon Hillard Logan: Tracey Williams exactly. I always go to that but was feeling apprehensive this year.

Tracey Williams: I love going too but hearing this kinda freaked me out.

Shannon Hillard Logan: I wonder if they will find another venue. It will seem fishy if it opens there this year.

Tracey Williams: I kinda think they’ll keep it there. It’s probably closing (to allow the last of testing and the professional cleaning company to come in) so they can reassure public before Mistletoe. I know if I did decide to go, I won’t be drinking or eating anything that could’ve been made there.

Aleasha Carpenter: Have they checked the air conditioning system? It is a moist area, and legionella breeds in wet areas.

James McFarlane: Aleasha Carpenter most cases of legionella are in the potable water.

Amanda Speerly: They should have shut this down weeks ago instead of continuing to have events there. Greed plain and simple.

Nannette Delossantos Blair: This is something that is in new buildings as well. 5 star hotels. Potting soil. Port-a coolers. Schools and nursing homes across the country. New and old buildings.

Alan Lizarraga: I’m glad, it’s not safe.

Daniel Romo: Just tear it down and start over.

Mario Gloria Ruiz: Daniel Romo it’s going to get tore down anyways. They are building a new one.

Scott Plummer: There were already plans to tear it down but the fact is it wasn’t likely the building. It was more likely the hot tub display. If it was the HVAC system I think a lot more people would have been infected.


John is a two-time national columnist of the year. He has earned top AP awards for news, videos and sports writing and won the Thomas J. Bulson Investigative Journalism award. He has appeared on CNBC's American Greed, FOX News and CNN.

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