If you have been sickened in a Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak, you need help from a Legionnaire’s Disease lawyer who understands Legionnaire’s Disease and has experience handling a Legionnaire’s Disease case like yours.
Legionella bacteria breed in unclean, unfiltered water. Legionnaire’s Disease epidemics often start when legionella bacteria breed in a poorly-maintained air conditioning system in a hotel or office building. The bacteria also can breed in a pool, spa or hot tub that has not been cleaned and properly maintained.
If you believe that you or a loved one contracted Legionnaire’s Disease at a public place – for example, at a hotel, office building, or the pool, spa or hot tub on a cruise ship or at a hotel — call The Wallace Law Firm, LLC, to learn more about what rights you have to recover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Victims often find themselves in a coma. Tragically, a number of victims who have inhaled the legionella bacteria die.
WHAT IS LEGIONNAIRE’S DISEASE?
The bacteria that causes legionellosis is Legionella pneumophila. Legionellosis comes in two forms: Legionnaire’s Disease is the more serious form and involves pneumonia; the milder version is called Pontiac Fever.
Legionnaire’s Disease is a pneumonia illness that disproportionately affects smokers and people with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems. For example, premature infants, the elderly, transplant recipients, people receiving chemotherapy, people who have compromised immune systems, and hospital in-patients are all especially vulnerable to the disease. For that reason, outbreaks of Legionnaire’s Disease in hospitals are extremely dangerous.
CDC estimates that “[e]ach year, between 8,000 and 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaire’s Disease in the U.S.” Unfortunately, “[a]bout 5% to 30% of people who have Legionnaire’s disease die,” according to CDC statistics. The incubation period of Legionnaire’s Disease is from two to ten days, but the incubation time can be shorter in cases of Pontiac Fever.
Legionella can breed when units such as air conditioners, pools, or whirlpools are not properly cleaned. Legionella also can be distributed through poorly designed buildings or cooling systems that direct contaminated water droplets into the air that people breathe. People who get Legionnaire’s Disease from systems that are unsanitary or that are poorly designed may have a legal case for the damages they incur.
WHY IS IT CALLED “LEGIONNAIRE’S DISEASE”?
In 1976, a group of people attending an American Legion Convention in Philadelphia came down with a mysterious illness. They began to feel tired and weak. They began to run high fevers, and to cough. They developed diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and stomach discomfort. Several of the people died. Medical experts studying the phenomenon traced the outbreak to a bacteria found in the air conditioning unit at the hotel where the conventioneers had stayed. The disease became known as “Legionnaire’s Disease”.
WHAT IS PONTIAC FEVER?
“Pontiac Fever” debuted in Pontiac, Michigan in 1968. Ninety-five out of 100 employees of the Oakland County Health Department, and 49 out of 170 visitors, became sick. CDC sent three investigators into the building, and they, too, became sick. CDC sent three more investigators, who also became sick. At last the outbreak was traced to an evaporative condenser in the basement. This condenser was vented to the roof just two meters from an air intake unit.
FACTS ABOUT LEGIONNAIRE’S DISEASE
While large outbreaks do receive media attention, CDC suggests that: “this disease usually occurs as a single, isolated case not associated with any recognized outbreak.” In fact, many experts believe that the incidence of Legionnaire’s Disease is much higher than reported, because many cases either are not identified as the Legionnaire’s Disease form of pneumonia, or are never associated with a particular outbreak.
Legionella, the bacteria that cause Legionnaire’s Disease, are found naturally in water such as lakes and rivers. In that context, however, legionella is rarely dangerous, because it is so diluted.
Legionnaire’s disease is almost always preventable with good maintenance and building design. Legionella become dangerous when allowed to breed in the warm, stagnant water of cooling towers and whirlpools. The legionella become airborne; then, when people breathe the mist from the water source, the legionella can affect many people at a time. Outbreaks have happened in hotels and hospitals, and around whirlpools in hotels and cruise ships. One particular outbreak was believed to be the result of water droplets spraying and falling from an air conditioner unit located on top of a building, down onto the sidewalk area below.
HERE ARE SOME LINKS RELATED TO LEGIONELLA:
- CDC (Centers for Disease Control) – General information on Legionnaire’s Disease
- U.S. Department of Labor – Exposure to legionella in the workplace
- Legionnaire’s Disease, Australia – Department of Health, Victoria, Australia
- General Information about Legionnaire’s Disease
- HC Information Resources Inc. – Information on Legionnaires’ disease and waterborne bacteria control. FAQ, outbreaks news, downloadable electronic publications, free articles.
- Texas Department of Health – Fact Sheet on Legionnaire’s Disease
* Each case is different, and success in one case does not guarantee success in another.