Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease at University Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Six new illnesses have been identified in the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at University Hospital in Madison, raising the case count to 11, according to UW Health officials.

The outbreak was first reported on Nov. 28 when four cases of the deadly respiratory illness were confirmed. A fifth case and a fatality were announced the next day.

The new illnesses were not unexpected as officials expected the count to grow, due to the exposure window to Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. Symptoms can present up to 14 days after exposure, and other patients could present symptoms up until Dec. 12, according to a hospital press release.

Four of the patients remain hospitalized, while six have been discharged or treated as outpatients. Their conditions are considered stable, and an antibiotic treatment protocol is working as expected.

One patient, who had been hospitalized with multiple, serious health problems, died last week. At the time of that pronouncement, Lisa Brunette, UW Health direction of media relations, said the “death was not unexpected.”

Hyperchlorination of the hospital’s hot water system has been successful in the reducing the bacteria, but monitoring at multiple sites within University Hospital is ongoing.

“We are confident the hyperchlorination worked as expected,” said John Marx, UW Health senior infection control practice specialist. “An aggressive program of monitoring and screening is in place to ensure the system is functioning as designed. Our commitment to the safety of our patients is unwavering.”

UW Health is working with the Wisconsin Division of Public Health (DPH) on mitigation and testing efforts and have extended an invitation to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asking them to act as an additional expert resource.

A mild form of Legionnaires’ disease — known as Pontiac fever — can produce signs and symptoms including a fever, chills, headaches and muscle pains. Pontiac fever, however, doesn’t infect the lungs, and symptoms usually manifest within two to five days.

Seniors at high 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).

More disease info

Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection. The bacterial infection is treatable with antibiotics, although if it is not diagnosed early, it can lead to severe complications and even become deadly. It is not contagious; that is, it cannot be passed from person to person.

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

Ten percent of people who become infected with Legionnaires will die from the infection.

Legionella, which is the bacteria that causes Legionnaires, 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.

Where do Legionella live?
Outbreaks have been linked to a number of sources:

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

Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease, and he has regained millions of dollars for them. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease in North Carolina, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


A Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee, NC, is being investigated by the Jackson County Department of Public Health (JCDPH), the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Public Health and Human Services (PHHS), and the North Carolina Division of Public Health (NC DPH).

Three people who visited the western North Carolina casino between May and November became ill with the serious respiratory illness. No additional information on the individuals who took ill was released.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the event a Legionnaires’ disease “outbreak” because two or more cases associated with the same property occurred in a 12-month period.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, which is located at 777 Casino Drive, is working with a consultant to conduct remediation and testing to ensure that Legionella – the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease – is not present or, if found, promptly eliminated.

Anyone with additional questions can call the JCDPH (828-587-8201) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time) Monday through Friday, or visit health.jacksonnc.org/ 

If you are an employee or have visited the Cherokee Casino Resort since mid-October and are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should seek care from your health-care provider out of an abundance of caution.

Legionnaires information

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe lung infection that people can get by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionella. The disease is similar to other types of pneumonia, and symptoms can even resemble those of flu, which is why it often goes under-reported.Early symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease generally include:

  • severe headaches
  • fever (104 degrees or higher) and chills
  • muscle aches
  • suppressed appetite.

Symptoms, however, can worsen to include:

  • pleuritic chest pain (pain caused by inflamed lungs)
  • dyspnea (difficulty breathing)
  • cough, which can produce blood and mucus
  • gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting (about one-third of Legionnaires cases produce these symptoms)
  • mental agitation and confusion.

A mild form of Legionnaires’ disease — known as Pontiac fever — may produce signs and symptoms including a fever, chills, headaches and muscle pains. Pontiac fever, however, doesn’t infect the lungs, and symptoms usually clear within two to five days.

About 10 percent of people infected with Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) will die from the infection.

High-risk categories
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).

Legionnaires’ disease is also known as legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia. It is treatable with antibiotics, although if it is not diagnosed early, it can lead to severe complications and even can become deadly.

Legionella sources
Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks and clusters have been linked to a number of sources, including:

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

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


An Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) investigation uncovered Legionella bacteria and structural issues with the plumbing system at the McHenry Villa Senior Living facility in McHenry. Three residents were sickened with Legionnaires’ disease in early November, and one of them – former McHenry city mayor Donald P. Doherty – died Nov. 21.

The Legionnaires’ disease outbreak was the third to affect McHenry County in 2018.

The IDPH sent a notice of violation to McHenry Villa regarding the sanitary hazard in its plumbing system.

“Our concern is the health and safety of the McHenry Villa residents,” IDPH director Nirav D. Shah said in a press release. “Because this community is similar to an independently operated apartment complex, implementation of water-use restrictions is not feasible, and correction of the violations may not be possible while residents are occupying the building. IDPH is notifying McHenry Villa of the violations so the owners can remediate the plumbing system and provide a healthy living community for residents and staff.”

McHenry Villa executive director Noreen Zaio said that after consulting with IDPH, McHenry County officials and McHenry Villa’s water-quality management company, evacuation of residents was not necessary.

“We take this situation very seriously,” Zaio said. “Upon learning of the test results, McHenry Villa took immediate action and is implementing a remediation plan as directed by the state.”

In a letter to residents, McHenry Villa officials said they are committed to fully complying with IDPH’s directives and guidance and will inform residents and staff of their response. Possible actions that may be taken, according to IDPH public information officer Melaney Arnold, include:

  • hiring a consultant
  • adding or replacing filters on showers, sink faucets and fixtures
  • reviewing cooling tower operations.
Former mayor passes
Doherty, 91, died of Legionella at the JourneyCare CareCenter hospice facility in Woodstock, his son told the Chicago Tribune. A lifelong resident of McHenry, Doherty contracted Legionnaire’s disease at McHenry Villa, where he had been living. Doherty was mayor of McHenry from 1961 to 1973.

The conditions of the other two residents sickened were not released.

IDPH said all three patients had outside exposure, and two of the three could have been exposed at Centegra Hospital-McHenry, part of Northwestern Medicine, something hospital officials say is not likely. It’s unknown if Doherty was one of the two believed to have been exposed at Centegra.

No stranger to Legionella
The first cluster of the year in McHenry County infected 12 people in June and July. Six of the 12 were believed to have been sickened within a 1½-mile radius of the intersection of Route 176 and Walkup Road in Crystal Lake, but the source never was identified.

Three people were affected during the second outbreak in October. The source of that outbreak was believed to be the Johnsburg Walmart Supercenter.

There were four cases of Legionnaires’ disease in McHenry County in 2017, nine in 2016, and three in 2015.

The county is located in northeastern Illinois, along the Wisconsin state line. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 308,760, making it the sixth-most populous county in Illinois.

Legionnaires FAQs

What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection. The bacterial infection is treatable with antibiotics, although if it is not diagnosed early, it can lead to severe complications and even become deadly. It is not contagious; that is, it cannot be passed from person to person.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur in the United States on a yearly basis. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.Ten percent of people who become infected with Legionnaires will die from the infection.

How is Legionella distributed?
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 a number of sources:

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

What are the symptoms?
The disease is similar to other types of pneumonia. Symptoms can even resemble those of the flu, which is why it often goes under-reported. Those symptoms include:

  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • headaches
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Although Legionnaires’ disease primarily affects the lungs, it occasionally can cause infections in wounds and other parts of the body, including the heart.A mild form of Legionnaires’ disease — known as Pontiac fever — can produce signs and symptoms including a fever, chills, headaches and muscle pains. Pontiac fever, however, doesn’t infect the lungs, and symptoms usually manifest within two to five days.

Seniors are most susceptible
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:

  • 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.

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

Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease at University Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


UW Health officials announced that one of the four patients diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease at University Hospital on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus has died, and a fifth case has been confirmed.

The patient who died was treated for multiple, serious health problems, and the “death was not unexpected,” said Lisa Brunette, UW Health director of media relations. Two of the initial four patients remain hospitalized and are in good condition, Brunette said.

No other information was released on any of the patients.

If you are a current or recent patient at University Hospital or are an employee at the facility and are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should see your health-care provider out of an abundance of caution.

Legionnaires at 2nd Madison hospital
Another Madison hospital, St. Mary’s, also has confirmed a case of Legionnaires’ disease, according to Jennifer Miller, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) communication specialist. The cases are unrelated, according to St. Mary’s spokesperson Lisa Adams, as their patient had no contact with University Hospital. Adams said the patient contracted the disease in the community, not in a health-care setting.

Legionnaires flurry in Wisconsin
Miller also said that the state has had 11 confirmed or suspected cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the past week. The other cases do not involve people or establishments in Dane County, and a wider outbreak is not suspected, according to Elizabeth Goodsitt, DHS communications specialist.

Officials at UnityPoint Health-Meriter, another Madison-area hospital, confirmed that they had not had any recent Legionnaires cases.

Change to water flow the problem?
Dr. Nasia Safdar, medical director of infection control at UW Hospital and Clinics since 2009, said the University Hospital outbreak appears to be associated with a recent decision to reduce water flow during low-demand times in an attempt to save water. That is believed to have made the water system more vulnerable to the growth of Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. Regular flow has been resumed.

Parts of the hospital tested positive for Legionella, but the problem is believed to be facility-wide.

“Once it’s in the hot water, it could be anywhere,” Safdar said. “The assumption is that the entire hospital needs to be mitigated.”

University Hospital finished hyper-chlorination of its water system to kill the bacteria Thursday, and the no-shower ban was then lifted within the facility.

Wisconsin hospitals have a history
In 2010, a decorative water wall in the hospital lobby at Aurora St. Luke’s South Shore in Cudahy, a Milwaukee-area hospital, was named as the source of an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that sickened eight, prompting St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison to shut down two decorative water walls for testing. At the time, University Hospital kept its three water walls running, and UnityPoint Health-Meriter closed one of its two water walls for mechanical repairs.

Legionnaires info

Legionella homes
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 a number of sources:

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

Legionnaires symptoms
Legionnaires’ disease is a severe lung infection that people can get by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionella bacteria.

The disease is similar to other types of pneumonia. Symptoms can even resemble those of the flu, which is why it often goes under-reported. Those symptoms include:

  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • headaches
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

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

A mild form of Legionnaires’ disease — known as Pontiac fever — can produce signs and symptoms including a fever, chills, headaches and muscle pains. Pontiac fever, however, doesn’t infect the lungs, and symptoms usually manifest within two to five days.

Difficult diagnosis
Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection. The bacterial infection is treatable with antibiotics, although if it is not diagnosed early, it can lead to severe complications and even become deadly. It is not contagious; that is, it cannot be passed from person to person.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur in the United States on a yearly basis. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

Ten percent of people who become infected with Legionnaires will die from the infection.

Seniors at risk

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:

  • 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.

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

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


Four patients at UW Health’s University Hospital on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, the hospital’s first cases of hospital-acquired Legionella in 23 years.

Two patients have been discharged, while the other two remain hospitalized. The ages of the four range from 45 to 80 years old, and all were experiencing health-related issues before they contracted Legionnaires. All confirmed positive on a urine test, which was conducted within the past 10 days.

There is concern that other Legionnaires’ disease cases will surface.

“It’s a frightening thing for most patients to hear,” said Nasia Safdar, medical director of infection control at UW Hospital and Clinics since 2009. “But we care for a very sick population, so we’re very cognizant of the concerns they have.”

High-risk categories
Anyone can become ill from Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, 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).

Hot water system at fault?
The cause of the disease is believed to the hospital’s hot water system, which recently was adjusted in an attempt to save water. “The flow was altered in the system,” Safdar said. “So, instead of being at a consistent high flow, it was altered to be more flexible to be on demand.”

Hospital officials said steps were being taken to address the suspected risk to patients, including:

  • The use of hospital showers was temporarily halted when they became aware of the Legionnaires diagnoses.
  • A “hyperchlorination” process was performed to flush all hot-water lines in the building to eliminate Legionella.
  • Hospital officials notified patients and staff of the situation.

University Hospital is a 505-bed regional medical center located at 600 Highland Ave.

American Family Children’s Hospital, located at 1675 Highland Ave., is not affected, according to the news release. It is an 87-bed facility with pediatric and surgical neonatal intensive care unit, located next to University Hospital.

Legionnaires FAQs

What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of lung infection. 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.

Legionnaires’ disease is treatable with antibiotics if it is diagnosed early enough. If that does not occur, however, it can lead to severe complications and even can become deadly.

How is Legionella contracted?
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.

Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks and clusters have been linked to a number of sources, including:

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

Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease, and he has regained millions of dollars for them. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease at The Sands Resort, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Three more lawsuits have been filed against The Sands Resort at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. The hotel was identified by health officials as the likely source of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak this summer, according to Seacoastonline.com.

The outbreak sickened 19, and resulted in the death of one victim. The individuals took ill in an area of Hampton identified as Ashworth Avenue between Island Path and M Street, beginning in early June through September.

The lawsuits were filed in November in Rockingham Superior Court and raised the number of suits faced by The Sands to four since September, all by Massachusetts residents. The suits allege the hotel’s spas and water system carried water infected by Legionella bacteria, causing the plaintiffs to be hospitalized with Legionnaire’s disease after their stays at the resort this summer.

A cluster of Legionnaire’s disease cases was identified by state health officials in August, and test results at The Sands returned elevated levels of Legionella – the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease – in the hot tub, water heater, outdoor shower hose, and the sinks and shower heads in three guest rooms.

At that time the positive test was announced, it was published that nine of the 14 people sickened were guests at The Sands’ property. Those numbers were never updated.

Filing suit were Nicole Murphy of Chicopee, Kathleen Foley of Monson, and Bruce Chester of Gardner. Those three joined a lawsuit filed by Louise M. Pare, also of Gardner, and Celeste M. Billington of Templeton, who filed their lawsuit against The Sands in September.

All lawsuits state that the plaintiffs spent time around The Sands’ spa area and used the showers, faucets and other potable water systems that carried water infected with Legionella bacteria.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hot tubs that are not cleaned and disinfected often enough can become contaminated with Legionella. Individuals are then infected by the bacteria when they breathe in steam or mist from a contaminated hot tub.

Tom Saab, owner of The Sands Resort, said the hot tub has been closed permanently and will be removed so the space can be used for something else. “It’s going to be ripped out of there,” he told Seacoastonline.com in September. He declined to comment on the newly filed lawsuits.

The defendants in the three new lawsuits are listed as:

  • The Sands Resort Management Co., Inc.
  • Aqua Paradise Pools & Spas
  • Sands Hotel Realty Trust trustees Thomas Saab, Edward Saab and Leonard J. Samia.

The lawsuits claim the three parties were negligent in their maintenance and inspection of their facilities, allegedly enabling Legionella bacteria to grow in the water. The lawsuits also allege that contracts between the plaintiffs and The Sands management company, which ensured guests would be safe during their stay, were violated by the presence of the bacteria.

Saab said The Sands was thrown “under the bus” when it was linked so publicly to the outbreak. He said he believes other businesses were likely at fault, as well, given that the senior who died – a man from New York – never stayed at The Sands. The Sands water supply could not have been the only source of Legionella, he alleges.

“This is a community-wide event; it’s not a Sands event,” Saab said.

Legionnaires’ FAQs

What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of lung infection. 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.

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.

Where do Legionella live?
Outbreaks have been linked to a number of sources:

  • water systems, such as those used in hotels, apartment complexes, hospitals, and nursing homes
  • 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
Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease in Upper Manhattan, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Prominent Manhattan attorney Scott Harford, working in conjunction with Elliot Olsen, will conduct a Legionnaires community meeting Tuesday to inform Upper Manhattan residents of their legal rights in regards to this year’s two Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. The meeting will be 5 to 8 p.m. in the conference room of the Edge Hotel, 514 West 168th Street, between Amsterdam and Audubon).

To recap: Almost 60 residents of Upper Manhattan have been sickened by Legionnaires’ disease in the past six months – and two of them are dead because of it. The source of the outbreaks was a contaminated cooling tower at Harlem’s Sugar Hill Project, 898 St. Nicholas Avenue (St. Nicholas and 155th).

Harford will provide community members the opportunity to gather information about the potentially deadly lung infection as he helps them better understand the legal ramifications of their situation. To assist, he will be accompanied by a Dominican Spanish speaker.

Upper Manhattan outbreaks: 59 ill, 2 dead

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) released its final update on the second Legionnaires outbreak about three weeks ago, announcing that 32 people were sickened, and one victim had died.

In the first outbreak, which occurred over the summer, 27 people became ill, and one died. In that outbreak, 25 of the 27 sickened required hospitalization.

Upper Manhattan outbreaks: stay aware

Despite the DOHMH statement that the outbreak had concluded, residents, people who work in the area, and anyone traveling through Upper Manhattan should remain alert. Someone who is infected might not show symptoms immediately because of the disease’s long incubation period, which can be up to two weeks.

Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious – that is, it cannot be passed from person to person. If it is caught early enough, it can be treated with antibiotics.

Anyone with flu-like symptoms – difficulty breathing, cough, fever – should see their doctor out of an abundance of caution.

Upper Manhattan outbreaks: hard to diagnose

Because symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease are similar to symptoms of pneumonia (lung infection) or influenza (flu), many cases go unreported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled statistics that show that only about 5,000 of the estimated 25,000 annual cases in the U.S. are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

Approximately 10 percent of people infected with Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) will die from the infection.

Upper Manhattan outbreaks: symptoms

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease generally begin with:

  • severe headaches
  • fever, which can be 104 degrees or higher
  • chills
  • muscle aches
  • suppressed appetite.

After a few days, however, symptoms can worsen to include:

  • chest pain, or pleuritic chest pain, which is pain caused by inflamed lungs
  • difficulty breathing, or dyspnea
  • coughing, which can bring up blood or mucus
  • gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, etc.
  • mental agitation and confusion.

Upper Manhattan outbreaks: high risk

Anyone can breathe in Legionella bacteria, but those most susceptible to becoming ill include:

  • people 50 or older
  • smokers, both current and former
  • people with a chronic lung disease, or COPD (most commonly, emphysema or bronchitis)
  • people with a suppressed immune system
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
  • organ-transplant recipients
  • people on specific drug protocols (corticosteroids, for instance).

Upper Manhattan outbreaks: vapor, mist

Legionnaires’ disease – also known as legionellosis or Legionella pneumonia – is contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets (mist or vapor). Legionella bacteria grow best in warm water, and they are found primarily in human-made environments, including:

  • cooling towers of air conditioning systems, as is the case with these outbreaks
  • water systems, like those used in hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
  • large plumbing systems
  • hot-water tanks and heaters
  • showers and faucets
  • mist machines, like those used in the produce sections of grocery stores
  • hand-held sprayers
  • swimming pools, whirlpools, hot tubs
  • physical-therapy equipment
  • decorative fountains.

Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease, and he has regained millions of dollars for them. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease in McHenry County or at Warren Barr, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


For the third time this year, a Legionnaires’ disease cluster has hit McHenry County after three cases of the respiratory illness were confirmed in residents at a senior living community, according to an Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) news release. A third case of the disease also was just added to the count for Warren Barr South Loop nursing home in Chicago.

While all three cases of the McHenry County cluster are linked to residents at McHenry Villa Senior Living (3516 Waukegan Road in the city of McHenry), health officials are investigating whether the facility is the source of the illnesses. All three patients also had potential outside exposures.

Two of those potential exposures were at Centegra Hospital-McHenry, part of Northwestern Medicine.

“Within the last month, we completed a routine water test at our McHenry Hospital, and the results showed there was no Legionella pneumophila in the water,” according to a statement by Michelle Green, Northwestern Medicine’s media relations manager. “We do not believe our hospital was the site for this exposure.”

Second issue for McHenry Villa
In September, the McHenry Villa flooded after a water pipe burst, causing the 100-plus residents to be temporarily moved for a month. McHenry Villa’s executive director, Noreen Zaio, said it is unknown if the flooding had anything to do with the cluster of Legionnaires cases.

“The health and safety of our residents and staff is our number one priority, and our staff will continue to ensure our residents receive uninterrupted service,” Zaio was quoted in a statement. “We will continue to work closely with the department of health to support its efforts and follow all the recommended guidelines and procedures to minimize exposure for residents, visitors, and staff.”

Zaio confirmed that McHenry Villa is notifying all residents and staff, in addition to following all health-department recommendations, to minimize exposure.

Watch for symptoms
If you are a resident or employee of McHenry Villa or have visited the facility and are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should see your health-care provider out of an abundance of caution.

  • 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).

Three times not a charm for McHenry
The first cluster of the year in McHenry County affected 12 people in June and July. Six of the 12 individuals were believed to have been sickened within a 1½-mile radius of the intersection of Route 176 and Walkup Road in Crystal Lake, but the source never was identified.

Three people were infected during the second outbreak in October. The source of that outbreak was believed to be the Johnsburg SuperCenter Walmart.

There were four cases of Legionnaires’ disease in McHenry County in 2017, nine in 2016, and three in 2015.

The county is located in northern Illinois, and its northern-most border lies on the Wisconsin state line. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 308,760, making it the sixth-most populous county in Illinois.

Warren Barr outbreak hits three
Health officials believe the latest patient sickened at the Warren Barr South Loop transitional rehabilitation center was exposed to Legionella bacteria before the facility switched to bottled water while environmental assessments were being performed.

This outbreak is not the first time Warren Barr has had to deal with Legionella issues. In July 2015, a resident at Warren Barr Gold Coast died from Legionnaires’ disease. (The Gold Coast rehab center is located approximately 4 miles from the South Loop facility.) A source was never found for the Legionella that caused that individual’s death.

More than 300 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are reported in Illinois each year, according to the IDPH. There were 332 cases confirmed in 2017, and 318 in 2016.

More Legionnaires info

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia (lung infection). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur in the U.S. annually. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of its nonspecific signs and symptoms.

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

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

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 in Baltimore, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Two residents at Stella Maris, an independent-living apartment complex in suburban Baltimore, were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, according to officials with the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Water restrictions were instituted at St. Elizabeth Hall, which has a separate water system on the Stella Maris campus, after residents and health officials were notified of the outbreak. Campus officials said they will continue to test the water, cooling and heating systems, as well as having them treated and monitored for Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

No information was provided on the two residents who were sickened.

Stella Maris is a nonprofit, long-term care facility in Timonium, Maryland, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, as an affiliate of Mercy Health Services. The facility offers inpatient and home hospice care, long-term and dementia care, home health and personal care, counseling and bereavement services, medical care, rehabilitation, pastoral care, and a senior day center.

Results pending
The HHS collected water samples from the complex, and results of those tests are pending, according to an email to the Baltimore Sun from HHS public information officer Elyn Garrett-Jones.

A mild form of Legionnaires’ disease — known as Pontiac fever — can produce signs and symptoms including a fever, chills, headaches and muscle pains. Pontiac fever, however, doesn’t infect the lungs, and symptoms usually clear within two to five days.

Seniors at high 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).

More disease info

Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection. The bacterial infection is treatable with antibiotics, although if it is not diagnosed early, it can lead to severe complications and even become deadly. It is not contagious; that is, it cannot be passed from person to person.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur in the United States on a yearly basis. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

Ten percent of people who become infected with Legionnaires will die from the infection.

Legionella, which is the bacteria that causes Legionnaires, 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.

Where do Legionella live?
Outbreaks have been linked to a number of sources:

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

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 in New York City, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


For the second time this year, health officials have identified the Sugar Hill Project as the source for a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in upper Manhattan in which 32 people have been sickened, and one victim has died.

The Harlem high-rise also was the source for an outbreak over the summer in which 27 people became ill. One victim also died during that outbreak.

Officials confirmed this is the first time that a single cooling tower has been linked to two separate Legionnaires incidents in the city.

“Sampling conducted at the start of the investigation revealed that Legionella bacteria had returned quickly despite a comprehensive remediation, suggesting that there was potentially something unique in this cooling tower system.,” said Dr. Oxiris Barbot, acting health commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).

Sugar Hill Project shut down its cooling system on Oct. 18, and officials said it will remain out of commission until “management demonstrates that it has remediated it and can operate the tower safely,” Barbot said in a DOHMH statement.

Upon receiving approval to recommission the cooling system, building management will be required to provide weekly samples to the city.

Sugar Hill Project, which opened in 2015, is a 13-story, 191,500-square-foot, mixed-use development located in Manhattan’s historic Sugar Hill district of Harlem. It has 124 affordable housing units for low-income families, including 25 residences for the formerly homeless. The building also features the 17,600-square foot Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling on the ground floor, as well as an 11,600-square-foot, early-childhood education center on the second floor.

Sugar Hill Project is located at 898 St. Nicholas Avenue at West 155th Street.

Tower design at fault?
City officials will investigate the design of the tower, convene a panel of water-system engineers to advise building owners on designing safer towers, and introduce stricter cooling-tower regulations, due to the anomaly of the second outbreak.

Mark Levine, New York City Council member and chairperson of the Council’s Committee on Health, said the DOHMH needs to do more to prevent “repeat contamination.”

“From the moment we learned of a second Legionnaires cluster at the same location in upper Manhattan, I began asking pressing questions: Are there defects in cooling-tower equipment which make them vulnerable to repeat contamination?” Levine was quoted in a statement. “How long does intense monitoring last after a tower is found to be contaminated once?

“Five weeks — and one oversight hearing — after Lower Washington Heights was hit with a second deadly cluster, we still don’t have adequate answers to these questions. DOHMH needs to move immediately to put in place better protocols to prevent this kind of repeat contamination.”

What is Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection. The bacterial infection is treatable with antibiotics, although if it is not diagnosed early, it can lead to severe complications and even become deadly. It is not contagious; that is, it cannot be passed from person to person.

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.

One in 10 patients infected with Legionnaires’ will die from the disease.

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.

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

Other people more susceptible to infection include:

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

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

Pontiac fever
A mild form of Legionnaires’ disease — known as Pontiac fever — may produce signs and symptoms including a fever, chills, headaches and muscle pains. Pontiac fever, however, doesn’t infect the lungs, and symptoms usually clear within two to five days.