Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
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Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at Mount Carmel Grove City, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


The Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at Ohio’s Mount Carmel Grove City hospital was traced to the facility’s hot water system and likely was the result of inadequate disinfection, the health system’s parent firm said.

At least 16 patients at the suburban Columbus hospital have been diagnosed with the potentially deadly form of pneumonia, which is caused by inhaling Legionella bacteria in the form of mist or vapor.

One patient – Deanna Rezes, 75, of Grove City – died on June 2. Another filed a lawsuit against the hospital system this week.

The Legionnaires outbreak was announced May 31, a mere month after the seven-floor, $361 million hospital opened. Patients who contracted Legionnaires were exposed sometime between April 27 and May 31, according to Dr. Tammy Lundstrom, chief medical officer for Trinity Health, the hospital’s Michigan-based parent company.

Hot water system:
Restrictions lifted

Water-use restrictions were put in place that prevented patients from showering and forced them to drink bottled water. Those restrictions were lifted late last week after more than 2,000 temporary water filters were installed at the 210-bed hospital. The water system also was flushed and over-chlorinated.

Mount Carmel Grove City’s long-term plan to prevent further Legionella issues is in place and includes extensive testing and a secondary water-treatment system, which constantly adds a small dose of disinfectant into the water.

Portions of the hospital’s water system were disinfected in February, and other areas were disinfected in April. The areas that were disinfected in February weren’t done again before the hospital opened, said Tim Keane, a Legionella expert and consultant for the hospital.

Hot water system:
First case May 15

The first case of Legionnaires’ disease was reported to Mount Carmel Grove City officials on May 15, Lundstrom said. Within a week, there were three possible cases associated with the hospital.

Because those who got sick weren’t in the hospital during the entire two-week period in which the disease develops, Lundstrom said they were considered “possible cases.” The hospital alerted Franklin County Public Health (FCPH), and “then as these things evolved, we determined we had an outbreak occurring with the facility,” Lundstrom said.

As for whether Mount Carmel should have made a declaration of an outbreak before May 31, at which point there were seven confirmed cases, Lundstrom said the health system followed the guidelines in place for investigating individual cases. It also relied on the health department to make that decision, she said.

“It’s not uncommon to see sporadic cases that have nothing to do with being in a health-care facility,” Lundstrom said.

Legionella is naturally found in water but can become problematic when it spreads into a building’s water system and spreads to shower stalls, faucets, drinking fountains, and ice machines.

Franklin County had the highest number of Legionella cases in Ohio in 2018.

Hot water system:
About Legionnaires

Anyone can contract Legionnaires’ disease, but those at the greatest risk of infection include:

  • people 50 years old or older
  • smokers, current and former
  • people with chronic lung disease
  • people with weakened immune systems
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages.

After the disease has been diagnosed, if the patient is not already hospitalized, then hospitalization is almost always necessary. In the most severe cases, complications like the following can occur:

  • respiratory failure: caused by changes to the lung tissue, or oxygen loss in arteries supplying the lungs.
  • septic shock: this can occur when Legionella produce toxins that enter the blood stream and cause a drop in blood pressure, leading to loss of adequate blood supply to the organs.
  • kidney failure: those same Legionella toxins can damage the kidneys’ ability to eliminate waste from the blood, resulting in kidney failure.
  • endocarditis: an infection of the inner lining of the heart that can affect the ability of the heart to maintain adequate blood flow through the body.
  • pericarditis: swelling of the pericardium, which is the primary membrane around the heart. This can also affect the ability of the heart to circulate blood throughout the body.

Hot water system:
Disease symptoms

Legionnaires’ disease usually develops two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella, and it frequently begins with the following symptoms:

  • headaches
  • muscle aches
  • chills and fever.

By the second or third day, other symptoms develop, including:

  • cough, which can bring up mucus and sometimes blood
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • confusion and other mental changes.

Although Legionnaires’ disease primarily affects the lungs, it occasionally can cause infections in wounds and in other parts of the body, including the heart.

Sick with Legionnaires?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at The Brielle at Seaview, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at a non-profit, assisted-living facility for seniors in New York City is under investigation after a resident was confirmed with the serious form of pneumonia this month, the second such diagnosis since November.

(Note: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a Legionnaires “outbreak” as two or more cases associated with the same possible source during a 12-month period.)

The latest illness comes nearly two months after the city lifted a five-month-old water restriction at The Brielle at Seaview, located at 140 Friendship Lane on Staten Island. The restriction prevented many of the residents from showering after the first case was diagnosed last year. Those restrictions have been reinstated by the NYC Department of Health (DOH) until the facility has been cleared again.

Tests show Legionella

The DOH said recent testing of the facility’s water supply indicated the presence of Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. Additional testing will be performed after remediation and hyper-chlorination efforts are completed.

After the November diagnosis, officials at The Brielle at Seaview installed a $50,000 supplemental disinfectant system that cost $15,000 to install. The electronic system was designed for 24/7 monitoring of bacteria and chlorine levels in the facility’s water system and alert management of abnormalities.

No information was released on whether the system performed effectively.

Third time in four years

“The Health Department and building management are promptly alerting guests of the situation,” read a statement from the DOH, “and providing guidance on how to prevent exposure, especially for those at higher risk for the disease.”

Officials for The Brielle at Seaview issued the following statement: “The health and safety of its residents is the Brielle’s foremost priority, which is why it spared no expense investing in state-of-the-art technology to ensure the facility’s water is of the highest possible quality and took immediate steps to remediate the water supply as soon as it was notified that one of its residents had fallen ill.”

This marks the third time a resident at The Brielle at Seaview has been diagnosed with the respiratory illness since the facility opened on Nov. 3, 2015. In November 2016, a resident was confirmed with the disease, and low levels of Legionella were found in subsequent testing.

Steps to limit exposure

Residents, employees, and visitors to The Brielle at Seaview should exercise these precautions until the water restriction has been lifted:

  • Do NOT take a shower, even a cool shower, since a shower could create a water mist (or vapor). Use the shower facilities in the commons building or take a sponge bath.
  • It is OK to brush teeth, wash hands, or wash dishes, but fill the sink slowly to avoid creating a mist.
  • It is OK to drink cold water from the tap, but start with cold water when heating water for tea, coffee, or cooking. You cannot get Legionnaires’ disease by drinking water.
  • You are NOT required to wear a mask.
  • It is IMPORTANT to wash hands.

High-risk demographics

A 2015 study by the CDC stated that “75 percent of (Legionnaires’ disease) acquired in health-care settings could be prevented with better water management.”

Although most people exposed to Legionella do not get sick, people 50 years old and older – especially those who smoke or have chronic lung conditions – are at a higher risk.

Other people more susceptible to infection include:

  • recipients of organ transplants
  • individuals who are on specific drug protocols (corticosteroids, to name one)
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages.

This list also includes anyone with an immune system weakened by:

  • frequent and recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis or skin infections
  • organ inflammation and infection
  • blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia
  • digestive problems, such as cramping, appetite loss, diarrhea, and nausea
  • delayed growth and development.

After Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed, hospitalization is almost always necessary. In the most severe cases, complications can include respiratory failure, kidney failure, septic shock, or even death.

Symptoms are vague

If you are a resident, visitor or employee of The Brielle at Seaview and are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should seek care from your health-care provider. Those symptoms include:

Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at Mount Carmel Grove City, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) was prophetic when it warned that additional cases of Legionnaires’ disease were possible at Mount Carmel Grove City in suburban Columbus: Three new cases were added to the outbreak total, increasing it to 10 at the month-old hospital.

The ODH also announced that one of the original seven patients confirmed with the illness passed away Sunday.

“Currently, we’re working with county and state health officials to identify the source of the bacteria,” read a statement from Dr. Richard Streck, Mount Carmel Health System’s chief clinical operations officer.

“We’ve taken several steps to protect our patients, staff, and visitors, including implementing extensive water restrictions. We are running additional tests on water sources throughout Mount Carmel Grove City, and our entire water supply is undergoing supplemental disinfection. We’re confident that we can safely maintain full services of the hospital.”

Tests show Legionella

Testing determined that Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, was present on the seventh floor and in the emergency room of the $361 million, seven-floor, 200-plus-bed hospital, which opened April 28 in Grove City. The newest hospital in Franklin County is intended to replace the Mount Carmel Health System’s West hospital facility in Franklinton.

Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) confirmed that of the 10 patients diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, six are women and four are men. Ages range between 50 and 90, with an average age of 72. FCPH officials said the exposure date range was from April 27 to May 24.

A 2015 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that “75 percent of (Legionnaires’ disease) acquired in health-care settings could be prevented with better water management.”

Cause for concern

If you were a patient, visitor, or employee of Mount Carmel Grove City during the exposure period and you are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention. If you have questions or would like more information about the issue, please contact Mount Carmel Grove City hospital at (614) 265-8111.

Franklin County woes

The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) listed Ohio – along with California, New York City, New York state, and Pennsylvania – as the areas with the highest number of confirmed Legionnaires’ disease cases in 2015 (that was the most recent year data was released). There were nearly 50,000 confirmed Legionnaires’ cases reported to the NNDSS from 2000 to 2015, according to the CDC.

Franklin County reported the highest number of Legionnaires cases in the state last year at 208, according to ODH statistics. Cuyahoga County had the second-highest number of cases at 148, followed by Montgomery County at 58.

Vague symptoms

Legionnaires’ disease usually develops two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella, and it frequently begins with the following vague symptoms, which are similar to other types of pneumonia as well as influenza (flu):

  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • fever, which can be 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

By the second or third day, symptoms can worsen to include:

  • cough, which can bring up mucus and sometimes blood
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • confusion and other mental changes.

Although Legionnaires’ disease primarily affects the lungs, it occasionally can cause infections in wounds and other parts of the body, including the heart.

High-risk groups

Most people exposed to Legionella do not get sick, but people 50 and older – especially smokers or people with chronic lung conditions (COPD, for instance) – are at a higher risk.

Other people more susceptible to the bacteria include:

  • recipients of organ transplants
  • individuals on specific drug protocols (corticosteroids, to name one)
  • alcoholics.

The list also includes anyone with an immune system that has been weakened by:

  • frequent and recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis or skin infections
  • organ inflammation and infection
  • blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia
  • digestive problems, such as cramping, appetite loss, diarrhea, and nausea
  • delayed growth and development.
Dangerous complications

After Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed, hospitalization is usually necessary. In the most severe cases, complications can include respiratory failure, kidney failure, septic shock, or even death.

According to CDC statistics, about one out of every 10 people (10 percent) infected with Legionnaires’ disease will die due to complications from the illness. For patients sickened with the disease during a stay in a health-care facility, about one out of every four (25 percent) will die.

Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at Mount Carmel Grove City, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


A new hospital in Grove City, Ohio, is dealing with an unprecedented problem after seven patients were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease since the hospital opened April 28.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) ordered Mount Carmel Grove City officials to “take immediate action to contain a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak” after ODH officials learned of the outbreak at the suburban Columbus hospital.

The ODH action – which the health department’s news release called a “rare adjudication order” – ordered the hospital to take the following steps:

  • Flush all hot- and cold-water lines and fixtures throughout the entire seven-floor, 210-bed facility.
  • Implement immediate remediation practices to disinfect hot- and cold-water lines and fixtures.
  • Test and clean all ice machines.
  • Ensure that the building’s two cooling towers are cleaned and serviced.
  • Provide any and all test results to the ODH.
  • Provide a water-management plan to the ODH.

“To protect patients, employees, and visitors, we have acted swiftly today after my team discovered a connection between seven confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in patients at Mount Carmel Grove City,” ODH director Dr. Amy Acton said in a news release. “Working in collaboration with Franklin County Public Health (FCPH), I issued an adjudication order to immediately reduce the risk of further infection. It is our understanding that hospital officials have begun implementing the steps outlined in the order.”

If hospital officials fail to implement Acton’s directives, she said she will order them to “cease accepting new patients.”

Mount Carmel Grove City:
Investigators on scene

The hospital is working with investigators from the ODH, FCPH, Columbus Public Health (CPH), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All are on site this weekend trying to determine the source of the Legionella, which is the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

The CDC’s Legionella Environmental Assessment tool was used to “identify high-risk areas,” according to Rebecca Fugitt, assistant chief of the ODH’s Bureau of Environmental Health and Radiation Protection.

“We are running additional tests on water sources throughout the hospital, and our entire water supply is undergoing supplemental disinfection,” read a statement from Dr. Richard Streck, chief clinical-operations officer with Mount Carmel Health System. “We’re confident that we can safely maintain full services of the hospital while we study this situation.”

Mount Carmel Grove City:
Outbreak numbers grow

Mount Carmel Grove City officials said they learned of the first case from Franklin County Public Health early last week, and then learned of two more cases Thursday and Friday. Hospital officials said they then identified four other cases Friday.

In its adjudication order, the ODH denoted the first patient was admitted to the hospital one day after its April 28 opening and stayed until May 7. Five additional cases were inpatients from May 8 through May 20. Onset cases ranged from May 12 to May 29 and were confirmed through urine antigen testing.

No additional information has been released on the seven sickened patients. Legionnaires’ disease can be fatal, but thus far no deaths have been reported.

ODH spokesperson Jose Rodriquez said it would not be unusual for other cases to be discovered. Area medical facilities have been sent an advisory to watch for signs of the disease and test for it, if necessary.

Samantha Irons, a hospital spokesperson, said surgeries and procedures are being performed as scheduled. Bagged ice and bottled water are being supplied to patients, staff, and visitors, and patients who request a shower are instead being given sponge baths.

Mount Carmel Grove City:
Increased risk for patients

A 2015 study by the CDC stated that “75 percent of (Legionnaires’ disease) acquired in health-care settings could be prevented with better water management.”

Most people exposed to Legionella do not get sick, but people 50 years old and older – especially those who smoke or have chronic lung conditions – are at a higher risk.

Other people more susceptible to infection include:

  • recipients of organ transplants
  • individuals who are on specific drug protocols (corticosteroids, to name one)
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages.

This list also includes anyone with an immune system weakened by:

  • frequent and recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis or skin infections
  • organ inflammation and infection
  • blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia
  • digestive problems, such as cramping, appetite loss, diarrhea, and nausea
  • delayed growth and development.

After Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed, if the patient isn’t already in the hospital, they more than likely soon will be. In the most severe cases, complications can include respiratory failure, kidney failure, septic shock, or even death.

Mount Carmel Grove City:
ICU a distinct possibility

The disease is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection. According to the CDC, an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur in the U.S. every year. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of its nonspecific symptoms (see below).

The severity of the illness is illustrated in a recent study from the University of Minnesota. Based on data from the CDC and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), the researchers said that “approximately 9 percent of legionellosis cases, caused by waterborne Legionella bacteria, are fatal, and 40 percent require intensive care.”

Mount Carmel Grove City:
Legionnaires’ symptoms

Legionnaires’ disease usually develops two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella. It frequently begins with the following symptoms:

  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • fever, which can be 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

By the second or third day, other symptoms develop, including:

  • cough, which can bring up mucus and sometimes blood
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • confusion and other mental changes.

Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at Mountaineer Casino, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at a West Virginia race track last fall was traced to a poorly maintained hot tub in the jockeys’ locker room, according to a report from health investigators.

The disease was spread via the building’s ventilation system and a crack in the floor, illustrating just how dangerous and easily Legionella – the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’ disease – is spread.

The final case count at Mountaineer Casino, Race Track & Resort in New Cumberland was 17. There were 10 confirmed or suspected cases of Legionnaires’ disease, and seven suspected cases of Pontiac fever, the less severe form of legionellosis – the collective term for diseases caused by Legionella.

The track was closed for a month – from Oct. 27 until Nov. 25 – after four employees were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.

The disease is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection caused by Legionella, which are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets in the form of mist or vapor.

The investigation uncovered that many of the people sickened did not have direct exposure to the hot tub but breathed in the bacteria that “escaped through various pathways,” according to Jared Rispens, an epidemic intelligence service officer in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s (CDC) Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice.

Ten confirmed or suspected patients had exposure to the hot tub or an adjacent hallway. The rest were exposed via a second-floor office suite, located directly above the hot tub area, which did not have an exhaust system.

According to Rispens, fog machines were employed to visualize airflow in the facility and discovered various pathways that mist could have escaped the hot tub to other areas of the building, including through the ventilation system and a crack in the floor.

“These factors could have created an environment where aerosol containing Legionella from the hot tub was introduced to higher floors via the thermal stack effect and/or passive ventilation and recirculated to occupied areas,” Rispens and colleagues wrote in their report.

Oversight lacking
Hospitals and nursing homes are required to bolster control of building water systems and medical equipment that could expose patients to harmful Legionella bacteria. There is, however, little regulatory oversight of apartments, hotels and other non-medical buildings, such as at Mountaineer Casino, Race Track & Resort.

“There’s not a lot of people checking up on a hotel, a condominium or a large building,” said Elliott Olsen, who has filed Legionnaires lawsuits on behalf of patients and their families for more than two decades. “I am not aware of any oversight really at any level.”

Legionnaires primer

According to the CDC, an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (scientific name: Legionella pneumophila) occur in the United States every year. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

The bacteria, which thrive in warm water, are found primarily in human-made environments, such as:

  • bathroom showers and faucets
  • whirlpools and hot tubs
  • physical-therapy equipment
  • swimming pools
  • mist machines and hand-held sprayers
  • hot-water heaters and tanks
  • decorative fountains
  • water systems of large buildings (hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, etc.)
  • large plumbing systems
  • air-conditioning system cooling towers.

Warm, stagnant water provides the right conditions for growth, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The organism can multiply at temperatures between 68 degrees and 122 degrees Fahrenheit, and temps of 90 degrees to 105 degrees are optimal for that to occur.

Complications
Anyone can get the disease, but those at the highest risk of infection include:

  • people 50 or older
  • smokers (current or former)
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
  • people with chronic lung disease
  • people with weakened immune systems.

After Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed, hospitalization is often necessary. In the most severe cases, complications can occur; they include:

  • respiratory failure: caused by changes to the lung tissue, or oxygen loss in arteries supplying the lungs.
  • septic shock: this can occur when Legionella produce toxins that enter the bloodstream and cause a drop in blood pressure, leading to the loss of adequate blood supply to the organs.
  • kidney failure: those same Legionella toxins can damage the kidneys’ ability to eliminate waste from the blood, resulting in kidney failure.
  • endocarditis: an infection of the inner lining of the heart that can affect the strength of the heart to maintain adequate blood flow through the body.
  • pericarditis: swelling of the pericardium, which is the primary membrane around the heart. This can also affect the ability of the heart to circulate blood throughout the body.

Symptoms
Legionnaires’ disease usually develops two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella bacteria. It frequently begins with the following signs and symptoms:

  • headaches
  • muscle pains
  • chills
  • fever, which can be 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

By the second or third day, other signs and symptoms develop, including:

  • cough, which can bring up mucus and sometimes blood
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain (pleurisy)
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • confusion and other mental changes.

Although Legionnaires’ disease primarily affects the lungs, it occasionally can cause infections in wounds and other parts of the body, including the heart.

Sick with Legionnaires?
Call (612) 337-6126

Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for clients harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires in Union County, New Jersey, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Health officials in New Jersey are investigating a Legionnaires’ disease cluster in Union County that has claimed five lives since early March.

Officials have confirmed 22 cases of the deadly bacterial disease, including the five fatalities, and said the individuals, who live in or visited Union County, became ill between March 8 and May 13. The five people who died were described as “older adults” who had other “significant” health problems.

Exact statistics with a breakdown of ages, genders, and residences of the individuals infected was not released, although it was confirmed that a “vast majority” of those who fell ill live in Union County.

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health departments to try and locate the source of the Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, which is a severe type of pneumonia (lung infection).

“We haven’t identified a confirmed source,” a NJDOH spokesperson told NJ.com. “We’re still re-interviewing the individuals who got sick. It’s a complex investigation.”

The state is conducting epidemiologic and environmental investigations, and some potential sources have been identified, but officials are not naming those sources. Remediation efforts have begun.

Why not an outbreak?
The term “cluster” is used if multiple cases of Legionnaires’ disease are merely linked in time and space but no common source is found. The term “outbreak” is used if a common source is found for the illnesses.

Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines an “outbreak” as the “occurrence of cases of disease in excess of what would normally be expected in a defined community, geographical area or season.”

Don’t assume you’re safe
“The risk to any resident of or recent visitor to Union County is very small,” Dr. Shefeer Elnahal, the state health commissioner, was quoted in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, the department recommends that individuals who live in Union County who become ill with pneumonia-like/respiratory symptoms – such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, and headache – visit their health-care provider.”

Even recent visitors or individuals who travel through the Union County area who exhibit symptoms should seek medical attention to be safe.

Legionnaires’ disease usually develops two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella bacteria. It frequently begins with the aforementioned symptoms, but other signs you should be aware of include:

  • fatigue and unusual weakness.
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • chest pain (called pleurisy)
  • confusion and other mental changes

Although Legionnaires’ disease primarily affects the lungs, it occasionally can cause infections in wounds and other parts of the body, including the heart. The disease is not contagious, meaning that it is not transferred through people-to-people contact.

Who is most at risk?
Anyone can get the disease, but those at the most significant risk of infection include:

  • people 50 or older
  • smokers (current or former)
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
  • people with chronic lung disease
  • people with weakened immune systems.

After Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed, hospitalization is often necessary. In the most severe cases, complications can occur, including:

  • respiratory failure: caused by changes to the lung tissue, or oxygen loss in arteries supplying the lungs.
  • septic shock: this can occur when Legionella produce toxins that enter the blood stream and cause a drop in blood pressure, leading to the loss of adequate blood supply to the organs.
  • kidney failure: those same Legionella toxins can damage the kidneys’ ability to eliminate waste from the blood, resulting in kidney failure.
  • endocarditis: an infection of the inner lining of the heart that can affect the strength of the heart to maintain adequate blood flow through the body.
  • pericarditis: swelling of the pericardium, which is the primary membrane around the heart. This can also affect the ability of the heart to circulate blood throughout the body.

How is it contracted?
According to CDC, an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur in the United States every year. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of its nonspecific symptoms.

Legionella are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets in the form of mist or vapor. The bacteria, which thrive in warm water, are found primarily in human-made environments, such as:

  • air-conditioning system cooling towers
  • large plumbing systems
  • water systems of large buildings (hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, etc.)
  • hot-water heaters and tanks
  • bathroom showers and faucets
  • swimming pools
  • whirlpools and hot tubs
  • physical-therapy equipment
  • mist machines and hand-held sprayers
  • decorative fountains.

Individuals in Union County, especially those living or working in buildings with cooling towers or large plumbing systems, should exercise these extra precautions until a Legionella source has been identified:

  • Consider taking a bath instead of a shower, since a shower could create a water mist. Try to minimize your time in the bathroom while the tub is filling.
  • It is fine to brush your teeth, wash your hands, or wash dishes, but fill the sink slowly to avoid creating a mist.
  • It is fine to drink cold water from the tap, but start with cold water when heating water for tea, coffee, or cooking. You cannot get Legionnaires’ disease by drinking water.

Persistent problem for NJ
State officials report that there are between 250 and 350 Legionnaires cases in New Jersey every year. The CDC’s 2014-2015 Legionnaires’ Disease Surveillance Summary Report showed New Jersey ranked in the Top 10 for states in the number of “reported confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease.”

Earlier this month, it was announced that New Jersey health officials were investigating an outbreak in which three residents of a Newark senior apartment complex (Nevada Street Apartments) were sickened.

Last summer, after a West Orange municipal worker was diagnosed with Legionnaires, six of the city’s municipal buildings tested positive for elevated levels of Legionella. A few months later, nine of the city’s 12 schools tested positive.

Sick with Legionnaires?
Call (612) 337-6126

Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for clients harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at Fulton Presbyterian Manor in Missouri, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Health officials are investigating a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at a senior living facility in Fulton, Missouri, after two residents were diagnosed with the potentially deadly respiratory illness.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and Callaway County Health Department are working with Fulton Presbyterian Manor (811 Center Street) to try and locate the source of the Legionella, which is the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

“We’ve not found the source of it yet,” Callaway County Health Department administrator Sharon Lynch told the Fulton Sun. “It’s in the soil; it’s not like it’s an odd thing.”

Legionella is found naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They can become a health concern when they grow and spread in human-made building water systems, such as:

  • showerheads and sink faucets
  • cooling towers (structures that contain water and a fan as part of centralized air cooling systems for building or industrial processes)
  • hot tubs that aren’t drained after each use
  • decorative fountains and water features
  • hot water tanks and heaters
  • large plumbing systems.

Outdoors, Legionella survive in soil and water but rarely cause infections, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“Usually it’s in the environment, and usually (it affects) someone with a weakened immune system,” Lynch said. “There are usually a few deaths a year, and usually in the elderly. It’s opportunistic.”

Test results are negative
Two rounds of environmental and water sampling tests performed by state officials and a private water-management company have yet to locate the Legionella source.

“PMMA communities follow detailed policies to ensure the best outcomes for these kinds of challenges,” said Bill Taylor, chief operations officer for Presbyterian Manors Mid-America. “The organization has a simple and straightforward philosophy when it comes to the matter of resident, employee and public safety: safety first.”

Cause for concern
Missouri health officials are advising that if you are a resident, visitor or employee of Fulton Presbyterian Manor and you are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should visit your health-care provider.

Legionnaires FAQs

Who is at risk?
Anyone can get the disease, but those at the highest risk of infection include:

  • people 50 or older
  • smokers (current or former)
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
  • people with chronic lung disease
  • people with weakened immune systems.

Are there complications?
After Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed, hospitalization is often necessary. In the most severe cases, complications can occur; they include:

  • respiratory failure: caused by changes to the lung tissue, or oxygen loss in arteries supplying the lungs.
  • septic shock: this can occur when Legionella produce toxins that enter the blood stream and cause a drop in blood pressure, leading to loss of adequate blood supply to the organs.
  • kidney failure: those same Legionella toxins can damage the kidneys’ ability to eliminate waste from the blood, resulting in kidney failure.
  • endocarditis: an infection of the inner lining of the heart that can affect the ability of the heart to maintain adequate blood flow through the body.
  • pericarditis: swelling of the pericardium, which is the primary membrane around the heart. This can also affect the ability of the heart to circulate blood throughout the body.

What are the symptoms?
Legionnaires’ disease usually develops two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella. It frequently begins with the following signs and symptoms:

  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • fever, which can be 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

By the second or third day, other signs and symptoms develop, including:

  • cough, which can bring up mucus and sometimes blood
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • confusion and other mental changes.

Although Legionnaires’ disease primarily affects the lungs, it occasionally can cause infections in wounds and other parts of the body, including the heart.

What is Pontiac fever?
A mild form of Legionnaires’ disease, called Pontiac fever, can produce similar symptoms, including a fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches. Pontiac fever, however, doesn’t infect the lungs, and symptoms usually clear within two to five days.

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Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for clients harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at a Chicago hospital, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Illinois health officials announced that they are investigating two cases of Legionnaires’ disease at a Chicago-area hospital – and for the second consecutive week. This time, the University of Chicago Medical Center (UChicago Medicine) is at the center of the inquiry.

On April 26, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported that two patients at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center on the city’s Near South Side were diagnosed with the potentially deadly respiratory illness.

Two patients at UChicago Medicine were diagnosed with the disease, but hospital officials said both were only at the facility for a limited time during their “risk period,” so it’s still unknown whether the hospital is the source of the bacteria that caused their illnesses.

Both patients received care at other facilities before UChicago Medicine, but the IDPH did not name them.

Environmental tests conducted during their stays at UChicago Medicine were negative for Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

The IDPH is investigating the Hyde Park neighborhood medical center, located at 5841 South Maryland Avenue, as is the Chicago Department of Health (CDPH) and hospital officials.

Hospital staff has begun surveillance to identify if other patients have been infected.

Water management problematic

A 2017 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Legionnaires’ disease is widespread in long-term care facilities – and 75 percent of those cases could be prevented with better water management.

“In health-care facilities, people are more vulnerable and more likely to get sick if they are exposed to the pathogen,” Anne Schuchat, then-acting director of the CDC, said in 2017.

Both UChicago Medicine and Mercy Hospital officials report their facilities are following the CDC’s water-management guidelines.

Legionnaires info

Legionnaires’ disease – also called Legionella pneumonia and legionellosis – is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection caused by Legionella. The contaminated bacteria is contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets, usually in the form of mist or vapor.

The disease is treatable with antibiotics, but if it is not diagnosed early, it can lead to severe complications and even can become deadly.

High-risk groups

Most people exposed to Legionella do not get sick, but people 50 years old and older – especially those who smoke or have chronic lung conditions – are at a higher risk.

Other people more susceptible to infection include:

  • recipients of organ transplants
  • individuals who are on specific drug protocols (corticosteroids, to name one)
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages.

This list also includes anyone with an immune system weakened by:

  • frequent and recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis or skin infections
  • organ inflammation and infection
  • blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia
  • digestive problems, such as cramping, appetite loss, diarrhea, and nausea
  • delayed growth and development.
Difficult diagnosis

According to the CDC, an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella occur in the United States every year. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

Legionnaires’ disease symptoms are similar to those of other types of pneumonia, and they can even resemble those of influenza (flu):

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Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for clients harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires in Newark, New Jersey, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


New Jersey officials are investigating a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak affecting a Newark senior apartment complex. Three residents of the building have taken ill with the disease since the beginning of December.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka issued a public health alert, announcing the outbreak at a news conference outside of the Nevada Street Apartments, located at 2 Nevada Street, where officials believe all three cases originated.

“Residents here were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease,” Baraka said. “We have to figure out exactly where it originated from.”

Investigators are testing the building’s water and cooling systems to determine if the building is the source of the contaminated water.

“It becomes more dangerous for folks that are elderly and immunodeficient, so it is very important for us to deal with it now,” Baraka said, “particularly since this is a senior building.”

People usually get infected by breathing in aerosolized (small) water droplets – that is, mist or vapor containing Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially deadly type of pneumonia. Aerosolized water can come from numerous sources, including showers, faucets, hot tubs, humidifiers, and decorative fountains.

Dr. Mark Wade, director of the Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness, said city officials are working with the New Jersey Department of Health.

“Just because these people were diagnosed in this building does not necessarily mean that (the bacteria) came from the water supply here,” Dr. Wade said. “We need to find out where it came from.”

The conditions of the three residents have not been released, although one report said all were in stable condition. Another report said only one patient had recovered, and the status of the other two cases was “not immediately clear.”

The Jonathan Rose Companies owned the 306-unit, Section 8 building for senior citizens until it was sold last month to the Hudson Valley Property Group.

Feeling sick?

City officials warn that if you are a resident, visitor or employee at the Nevada Street Apartments and are feeling symptoms, you should seek medical attention. Those symptoms are similar to the symptoms of other types of pneumonia, and they even can resemble those of flu:

Take precautions

Officials recommend residents apply the following precautions:

  • Consider taking a bath instead of a shower, since a shower could create a water mist. Try to minimize your time in the bathroom while the tub is filling.
  • It is fine to brush your teeth, wash your hands, or wash dishes, but fill the sink slowly to avoid creating a mist.
  • It is fine to drink cold water from the tap but start with cold water when heating water for tea, coffee, or cooking. You cannot get Legionnaires’ disease by drinking water.

People with questions about Legionnaires’ disease can contact the Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness at (973) 733-7592.

Legionnaires FAQs

What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease – also known as legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is similar to other types of pneumonia, which is an infection of the air sacs in one or both lungs that can produce fluid in the lungs.

Who is most at risk?
Anyone can get Legionnaires’ disease, but it is especially problematic for the elderly. People most susceptible to infection include:

  • people 50 years of age or older
  • smokers, current and former
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
  • people with chronic lung disease
  • people with compromised immune systems
  • recipients of organ transplants
  • individuals who are on specific drug protocols (corticosteroids, to name one).

How common is it?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur each year, but only 5,000 cases are reported because of its nonspecific signs and symptoms.

Ten percent of those who become infected with Legionnaires’ disease will die from the infection.

Where do Legionella live?
The bacteria, which grow best in warm water, are found primarily in human-made environments. Outbreaks and clusters have been linked to many sources, such as:

  • the cooling towers of air conditioning systems
  • large plumbing systems
  • water systems such as those used in hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
  • showers and faucets
  • hot water tanks and heaters
  • swimming pools
  • hot tubs and whirlpools
  • equipment used in physical therapy
  • mist machines and hand-held sprayers
  • decorative fountains.

Sick with Legionnaires?
Call (612) 337-6126

Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has regained millions for clients. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease at Legacy House, you might have cause to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Two cases of Legionnaires’ disease and the discovery of Legionella bacteria in the water system have prompted an assisted living facility in Taylorsville, Utah, to implement water restrictions.

One of the 80 residents at Legacy House of Taylorsville took ill with the bacterial illness in early April. Last week, the Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) confirmed the disease in a second resident, and health officials advised the facility to stop all tap water use.

The SLCoHD said it had previously collected water samples that tested positive for Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. Another round of tests were performed Friday, and those results are expected next week.

Seven other residents were tested for Legionnaires’ disease, but their results were negative.

“We want to make sure that all of our residents are safe,” said Nathan Cluff, Legacy House’s executive director.

Water restrictions
Signage in rooms, bathrooms, and above drinking fountains warned residents not to use the water, and staff has been supplying bottled water for drinking, washing, and bathing.

“Out of an abundance of precaution, we’re going to implement these water restrictions just to make sure we keep people safe until the problem’s been remediated,” Cluff said.

The SLCoHD sent a letter to residents informing them to take the following precautions until “water maintenance activities” are completed:

  • Drink only bottled water.
  • Do not shower; take sponge baths only.
  • It is OK to wash dishes with tap water, but fill the sink slowly to avoid creating a mist.

Remediation underway
Legionella Specialties, a water management company in Murray, Utah, has been hired by Legacy House to eradicate Legionella, which are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets in the form of mist or vapor.

“We’re looking for spots where the water would be turned into aerosol, like a showerhead, a fountain, a hot tub,” Steve Madsen, owner of Legionella Specialties, told KSL-TV. “It can even be a drinking fountain or a sink in a room.”

Legionella bacteria, which thrive in warm water, are found primarily in human-made environments, such as:

  • water systems of large buildings (nursing homes, hospitals, hotels, etc.)
  • bathroom showers and faucets
  • physical therapy equipment
  • whirlpools and hot tubs
  • swimming pools
  • mist machines and hand-held sprayers
  • decorative fountains
  • air-conditioning system cooling towers
  • large plumbing systems
  • hot-water heaters and tanks.

Warm, stagnant water provides the right conditions for growth, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The organism can multiply at temperatures between 68 degrees and 122 degrees Fahrenheit, and temps of 90 degrees to 105 degrees are optimal for that to occur.

Because Legionella thrives in warm water instead of hot, the bacteria often are found in places like assisted-living facilities, where the water temperature is controlled to prevent burns, according to Nathan Rupp, SLCoHD communications coordinator.

Cleanup progressing
The remediation efforts have advanced enough for the facility to set up “designated shower rooms” which have filters installed to eliminate Legionella.

“We have residents showering again today safely, and we’ll be calling in some extra staff to help us catch up on our shower schedule,” Cluff said.

There were 17 reports of Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis or Legionella pneumonia – recorded in Salt Lake County in 2018. The county experiences about 25 incident reports of the disease each year.

Warning issued
The SLCoHD is advising that if you are a resident, visitor or employee of the Legacy House, located at 6302 South Gold Medal Drive, and you have been in the facility in April and are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should seek care from your health-care provider.

Legionnaires’ disease symptoms are similar to those of other types of pneumonia, and they even can resemble those of flu:

  • smokers, both current and former
  • people with chronic lung disease
  • people with compromised immune systems
  • recipients of organ transplants
  • individuals who are on specific drug protocols (corticosteroids, to name one)
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages.