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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 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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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 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.

Sick with Legionnaires?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Two cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported at a Chicago hospital, and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is investigating.

Health officials said two patients with the disease were possibly exposed at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, where Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, was reported in the facility’s water system.

The general public is not at risk, according to the IDPH, and their investigation is confined to the hospital, which is located at 2525 S. Michigan Avenue in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

Investigators for the IDPH and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) have collected environmental samples for laboratory testing, according to a news release from the IDPH.

Remediation efforts – including flushing the water system, altering or replacing water fixtures, and installing filters on sinks to eradicate the spread of the disease – have begun.

Hospital officials also said staff is conducting active surveillance of patients to identify other potential Legionnaires cases.

Mercy Hospital made headlines last Nov. 19, when a mass shooting took place at the hospital. Four people were killed: a Chicago police officer, a pharmacy resident, the shooter’s ex-fiancee, who was an emergency surgeon, and the shooter, who shot himself.

Legionnaires info

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur yearly in the U.S. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of its nonspecific signs and symptoms.

Approximately one in 10 patients infected with Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis or Legionella pneumonia – will die from the infection.

High-risk groups
Anyone can get the disease, but those at the highest risk of infection include:

  • people 50 years old or older
  • smokers (current or former)
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
  • people with chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] or emphysema)
  • people with weakened immune systems (those suffering from conditions such as diabetes, cancer, kidney failure, or infected with HIV)
  • organ-transplant recipients (kidney, heart, etc.)
  • individuals following specific drug protocols (for instance, corticosteroids)

Even relatively healthy individuals have been known to contract the disease, although less typically.

Common symptoms
The symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease look like other forms of pneumonia or even the flu, which is why so many cases go unreported every year. Early symptoms can include the following:

  • chills
  • fever (potentially 104 degrees or higher)
  • headaches
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle aches.

After the first few days of the disease presenting, symptoms can worsen to include:

  • chest pain when breathing (called pleuritic chest pain, due to inflamed lungs)
  • confusion and agitation
  • a cough, which may bring up mucus and blood
  • diarrhea (about one-third of all cases result in gastrointestinal problems)
  • nausea and vomiting
  • shortness of breath.

(Note: There is also a mild form of Legionnaires’ disease called Pontiac fever, which can produce similar symptoms that include fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches. Pontiac fever doesn’t infect the lungs, however, and symptoms usually manifest within two to five days.)

Legionella sources
The bacteria, which grow best in warm water, are found primarily in human-made environments. Outbreaks have been linked to numerous sources, such as:

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

People also can contract Legionnaires’ disease by the aspiration of contaminated drinking water – that is, choking or coughing while drinking can cause water to go down the wrong pipe into the lungs. It’s also possible to contract Legionnaires’ disease from home plumbing systems, although the vast majority of outbreaks have occurred in large buildings because complex systems allow the bacteria to grow and spread more quickly.

Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
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Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has regained millions for his clients. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease at St. John’s Fountain Lake, you might have cause to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Less than a year after a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak struck a care facility in Albert Lea, Minnesota, the serious respiratory illness has returned.

St. John’s Fountain Lake senior community learned of a positive diagnosis of one of its residents at The Woodlands, which is the community’s skilled nursing facility. The illness is the first confirmed case since last August, after which the campus underwent extensive monitoring and remediation.

Five cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported at St. John’s between June and August last summer.

“One of the big questions is, ‘Why is this back?,’ ” St. John’s CEO Scot Spates told the Albert Lea Tribune.

St. John’s Fountain Lake, which opened in October 2017 and has approximately 100 residents, provides independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing care, and short-term care for seniors.

Extensive remediation

The facility’s remediation last year included a chemical treatment for the entire water system, as well as the installation of filters on showerheads.

Minnesota Valley Testing Laboratories, Inc., a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-certified lab that handled the testing of water samples last year, and Innovativational Concepts, Inc., a water-management consultant, have again been contracted to manage the assessment and remediation efforts.

Three-pronged approach

Reps from both companies and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDOH) recently used a method called “parallel water sampling,” according to the Albert Lea Tribune. The method entails “all three entities” collecting samples from the same water sources for testing.

Samples were taken at the two water mains – one that feeds the independent living apartment and assisted living memory care building, and the other for the nursing home – as well as the water heaters, two tub rooms, and a few resident rooms. Chlorine levels also were tested at both water mains.

Preliminary test results – which could indicate the presence of Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease – are expected soon. If the results are positive, further testing will be performed, and those results wouldn’t be available until the end of the month.

Water restrictions enforced

Based on the recommendation of an MDOH epidemiologist, St. John’s immediately implemented water restrictions, instructing residents not to drink from water faucets, use ice machines, or take showers until further notice, according to Spates. Bottled water is being supplied to every apartment and resident room.

Bathing is allowed in the facility’s tub rooms or in resident’s rooms that have a bathtub. Flushing of the toilets also is permitted.

The restrictions will be enforced until the MDOH gives the facility clearance.

Legionnaires info

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. Symptoms can resemble those of the flu, such as:

  • coughing
  • difficulty breathing
  • high fever
  • muscle aches and pains
  • headaches
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Who is most at risk for illness?
Anyone can get Legionnaires’ disease, but those 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).

According to the 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.

How does Legionella infect a person?
Legionella bacteria are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets, usually in the form of mist or vapor. The bacteria, which grow best in warm water, are found primarily in human-made environments.

Outbreaks have been linked to several sources, such as:

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

People also can contract Legionnaires’ disease when they “aspirate” contaminated drinking water – that is, choking or coughing while drinking can cause water to go down the wrong pipe into the lungs. That, however, is a very rare occurrence.

Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for clients harmed by the disease. If you or a family member got sick during last year’s Hampton outbreak, you might have reason to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


State health officials in New Hampshire released a final report on the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Hampton last summer, concluding that there were 49 “confirmed, probable or suspected” cases of the disease, including two fatalities.

The total is a far cry from the original count of 18 cases and one death announced last September by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The outbreak came to light last August when two people from Massachusetts were diagnosed with Legionnaires’s disease, which is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection (also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia) caused by Legionella bacteria. The infectious bacteria are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets in the form of mist or vapor.

DHHS officials traced the outbreak to a hot tub at The Sands Resort at Hampton Beach. Other locations were investigated, including the Harris Sea Ranch Motel, but officials found no evidence to suggest the outbreak began anywhere but The Sands.

Evidence points to hot tub

There were no additional cases after The Sands’ hot tub was shut down by the DHHS.

“The inadequate maintenance of The Sands Resort hot tub – as well as other conditions within the facility, such as low hot water temperatures – may have favored the growth of Legionella bacteria,” the 103-page report concluded. “Legionella bacteria were detected in nearly half of the environmental samples collected at the hotel, with six samples from the hot tub having the same strain of Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 as was found in respiratory specimens from two people with confirmed Legionnaires’ disease who stayed at The Sands Resort.”

There were 34 confirmed illnesses and an additional 15 suspected cases, 14 of which were classified as “probable.” Patients ranged in age from 3 years old to 88.

The majority of cases – nearly 70 percent – involved people who had lodged at The Sands within 14 days of developing symptoms (15 did not). All reported walking past or being within proximity of the hotel.

The outbreak was the first reported outbreak of the disease in the past 15 years in New Hampshire. The DHHS received an average of 32 reports of legionellosis each year from 2013 to 2017, with most cases occurring in July and August.

The outbreak was investigated by the DHHS, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the town of Hampton.

At least eight people sickened during the outbreak have already filed suit against The Sands Resort.

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.

“There’s not a lot of people checking up on a hotel, a condominium or a large building,” Olsen told USA Today for an article published recently. “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 (Legionella pneumophila) occur yearly in the U.S. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of its nonspecific signs and symptoms.

The bacteria, which grow best in warm water, are found primarily in human-made environments.

Where do Legionella live?
Outbreaks have been linked to several sources:

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

What are the symptoms?
Legionnaires’ disease develops anywhere from two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella. Symptoms frequently begin with the following:

  • severe headache
  • muscle aches and pains
  • chills
  • high fever, which can be 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

By day two or three, other symptoms develop, including:

  • coughing, which often brings up mucus and sometimes blood
  • difficulty breathing, also known as dyspnea
  • chest pains
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea
  • 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.

Who is most at risk?
Anyone can become ill from Legionella, but those most susceptible to infection include:

  • people 50 years of age or older
  • smokers, both 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).

Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for clients. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires in Michigan, area, you might have cause to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Michigan health officials are investigating a nursing care facility in Three Rivers that tested positive for Legionella bacteria.

Yvonne Atwood, the personal health and disease prevention director at Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency (BHSJCHA), said 14 of the 22 environmental samples collected at the facility tested positive for Legionella, the bacterial pathogen that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

The BHSJCHA has asked for assistance with its investigation from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

“Based on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this level of contamination indicates potential risk to patients and visitors at the nursing care facility in St. Joseph County,” a notice released by the BHSJCHA read. “An environmental assessment has been conducted, and remediation has been initiated to eliminate the source of contamination.”

Testing was ordered after an Allegan County man staying at the facility was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, a severe pneumonia-like illness. Tri-County health officials are not naming the southwestern Michigan facility unless they can definitively identify it as the origin of the disease.

Atwood verified that testing was underway to determine if water at the facility is the source of the Legionella.

Possible sources

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:

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

The Allegan County Communicable Disease team said it determined that the onset of the patient’s illness occurred during the two weeks he was being treated at the Three Rivers facility, although he was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after his stay. Information regarding his condition was not released.

According to the BHSJCHA notice, the facility has been directed to assess the status of its water-management program, comply with the ongoing public health investigation, and conduct public notifications describing the possible risk of infection. The facility also has been requested to:

  • Coordinate with public health officials in support of on-site evaluation of water systems.
  • Notify clinicians of the possible facility-associated cases and remind them of appropriate patient-testing requirements.
  • Conduct appropriate notification to those at possible risk of infection. This includes risk messaging, and education to patients at discharge from inpatient stays, including why they may be at risk for Legionnaires’ disease, what the symptoms are, and what to do if they have these symptoms for up to 14 days after discharge. Similar communication should be sent to all patients discharged from the agency since Feb. 1.
  • Inform the BHSJCHA immediately if they learn of other Legionnaires’ disease diagnoses among patients, visitors, or staff.
Water restrictions

“The facility has been put on water restriction,” said Rebecca Burns, BHSJCHA health officer. “No showers, for example.”

The facility’s water is supplied by a municipal system that does not chlorinate its water. Outside water is being used for client care.

High-risk groups

Anyone can become ill from Legionella, but those most susceptible include:

  • people 50 years of age or older
  • 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.

Additionally, recent travel and overnight stays in hospitals or other health-care facilities can increase the risk for Legionnaires’ disease. Patients with pneumonia should be tested for the disease if they have any of the following histories:

  • failed outpatient antibiotic treatment for community-acquired pneumonia
  • immunocompromised
  • admitted to an ICU
  • traveled within 10 days before onset of symptoms
  • hospitalized within 10 days of being diagnosed
  • developed pneumonia after 48 hours of hospital admission.
Legionnaires symptoms

Legionnaires’ disease usually develops two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella bacteria. 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.

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’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for clients. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton, you might have reason to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


A Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at a California prison is being investigated by state corrections officials after an inmate died from the severe form of pneumonia.

The outbreak occurred at the California Health Care Facility (CHCF) in Stockton, which serves as both a prison and a hospital. The facility provides medical care and mental health treatment to inmates who have the most severe, long-term needs. It has 1.4 million square feet of space in 54 buildings that accommodate 2,704 patients and a staff of 2,500.

Officials discovered that the inmate tested positive for Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, during a post-death analysis. The inmate died at an outside hospital, but no other information was released on the individual.

The CHCF began systematic testing of all patients with “radiologically confirmed pneumonia.” Sixteen additional patients were tested, and one other case of Legionnaires was confirmed; 14 patients were negative for the disease, and results are pending for one patient.

Measures taken by officials

CHCF officials have implemented the following control measures, out of an abundance of caution:

  • provided bottled water for drinking and sanitary functions
  • halted the use of aerosolizing equipment
  • shut down the use of showers in specific areas
  • and provided education to both staff and patients.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Correctional Health Care Services, California Department of Public Health, and San Joaquin County Public Health officials are all involved in the investigation.

Full investigation possible

If a full investigation is deemed necessary, the following steps would be taken:

  • evaluation of potential environmental exposures
  • environmental assessment
  • environmental sampling with cultures performed by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ELITE* laboratory
  • comparison of clinical and environmental isolates, if available
  • decontamination of the environmental source(s), if identified
  • revision of existing water-management programs or development of new ones.

The full investigation may be performed by local health departments (all or in part) or by an experienced environmental consultant contracted by the facility.

According to the Sacramento Bee, a prison health executive informed prison staff in an email on March 22 of two suspected cases of Legionella pneumonia, urging them to take precautions in two affected buildings.

(* Note: ELITE stands for Environmental Legionella Isolation Techniques Evaluation.)

More on Legionnaires

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.”

Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets in the form of mist or vapor containing Legionella. Most people exposed to the bacteria 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, hospitalization is often necessary. In the most severe cases, complications can include respiratory failure, kidney failure, septic shock, or even death.

Disease symptoms

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

  • headaches
  • muscle pains
  • 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 blood
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pains, or 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 in other parts of the body, including the heart.

Pontiac fever

A mild form of Legionnaires’ disease is Pontiac fever, which can produce symptoms that also include a fever, chills, headaches, and muscle aches. Pontiac fever, however, doesn’t infect the lungs, and those symptoms usually go away on their own within two to five days.

Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for clients. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease at Christmas Mountain Village, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that sickened three, killing one, over a 12-month span at a Wisconsin resort has sparked an investigation by health officials.

Sauk County Health Department (SCHD) director Tara Hayes confirmed that Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, were found at Christmas Mountain Village, a golf and ski resort in Wisconsin Dells. Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of bacterial pneumonia  that is contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets in the form of mist or vapor containing Legionella.

“There is no determination tying the death or illness to the presence of Legionella at Christmas Mountain,” Hayes told Capital Newspapers.

The only commonality between the three people who were sickened, however, was that they all visited the resort.

“We had received a report that some individuals contracted Legionnaires’ disease, so that prompted us to do an investigation with Christmas Mountain,” Hayes said. “During that investigation with the sampling of the water, there have been some units that have tested positive for the Legionella bacteria.”

The first case was reported to the SCHD in November 2017, and the health department identified Christmas Mountain Village as a possible source since the patient had recently visited the site. The facility tested positive for Legionella at that time, according to Hayes.

More recently, two more cases with ties to Christmas Mountain Village were recorded within two weeks of one another in October of last year.

No additional information regarding any of the three patients was released, so neither the timing of the death nor the condition of last October’s victims is known.

Why is this an outbreak?
The terms “outbreak” and “cluster” are used when multiple cases are reported in or around the same proximity and within a designated period. The term “community-acquired” is used when there are no commonalities; these kinds of cases are the most common.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would classify these illnesses as an “outbreak” because two or more cases of Legionnaires’ disease was reported within weeks of each other and occurred in a more limited geographic area – meaning officials were able to identify Christmas Mountain Village as a possible source.

“It was our understanding (via the health department) that there have been multiple cases reported across the region, in which only three cases reported to the health department are from guests that have stayed at the property within the last 24 months,” according to a statement released by a spokesperson for Bluegreen Management, the management company for the property. “There is no conclusive evidence that they contracted the Legionella bacteria during their stay at the property.”

Remediation efforts are underway at the facility and include installing “point of use” filters on every fixture at the resort. Those filters are believed to be 99 percent effective in eliminating exposure to harmful bacteria.

“Our guests’ safety is our number one concern,” the Bluegreen statement read. “We are working closely with the Sauk County Health Department and implemented a recommended risk-reduction measure in addition to ongoing water management and remediation.”

Bacteria problem for Wisconsin resorts?
Christmas Mountain Village wasn’t the only resort in Wisconsin to have Legionnaires issues in 2018. Four people were diagnosed with the disease at The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake between March and August last year. After learning of those illnesses, two locations on the property were tested in September and came up positive for elevated levels of Legionella.

According to Anna Kocharian, an epidemiologist with the Bureau of Communicable Disease of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the five-year average of confirmed Legionnaires cases in Wisconsin is 135, and the DHS conducts about five Legionella public health investigations every year.

About Legionnaires

According to the 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 the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

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.

Legionnaires complications
Anyone can get the disease, but those at the greatest 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 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.

Legionnaires symptoms
Legionnaires’ disease usually develops two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella bacteria. 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.