Elliot Olsen is one of the country’s leading Legionnaires lawyers. If you or a family member got sick in this Gershen Apartments outbreak, you might have cause to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


New Jersey health officials are investigating a senior housing complex after three cases of Legionnaires’ disease were confirmed at the facility in the past 13 months. No other information was released on the patients.

The probe by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is centered on the environmental safety of the Alvin E. Gershen Apartments in Hamilton, looking specifically at bacterial concerns.

The Mercer County facility, located on Klockner Road, is no stranger to Legionnaires’ disease. The apartment complex also was connected to an outbreak 10 years ago, according to the NJDOH. The World Health Organization defines an “outbreak” as the “occurrence of cases of disease in excess of what would normally be expected in a defined community, geographical area or season.”

“There has been a total of three cases of Legionnaires in the last 13 months in residents of this building,” NJDOH spokesperson Dawn Thomas wrote in an email to the Trentonian. “It is not known whether these residents contracted the illness at this building. It is the Department of Health’s standard protocol to initiate an investigation following the identification of two or more confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease associated with the same building within 12 months of each other.”

Gershen Apartments outbreak: issues last year

The first illness was confirmed last November, and sparked environmental tests that identified Legionella bacteria in the apartment’s potable (drinking) water system. Two additional cases have since been identified, with the most recent early this month.

Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, are contracted by inhaling microscopic droplets in the form of mist or vapor. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the bacteria may be transported from potable water to air by faucets, showerheads, cooling towers, and nebulizers.

People also can contract Legionnaires’ disease by the aspiration of contaminated drinking water – that is, choking or coughing while drinking causes water to go down the wrong pipe and into the lungs.

“The Department of Health and Hamilton Health Department have an ongoing investigation at the Gershen apartments,” Thomas said. “The building has been following public health recommendations related to treatment of their water.”

Gershen Apartments outbreak: advice

If you are a resident or employee or have visited the Alvin E. Gershen Apartments and you are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should visit your health-care provider immediately and inform them you were at an apartment building with a Legionella outbreak. This can help with proper treatment and assist with the investigation.

Gershen Apartments outbreak: May outbreak

The outbreak is not the first of this type for New Jersey this year. The Nevada Street Apartments, a senior apartment complex in Newark, was the site of a three-illness outbreak back in May.

Gershen Apartments outbreak: 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.

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

Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious – that is, it cannot be passed from person to person. The condition is treatable with antibiotics when diagnosed early enough, although if that does not occur, it can lead to severe complications.

Gershen Apartments outbreak: overview

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia or 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 United States on a yearly basis. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

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

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

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.

Gershen Apartments outbreak: 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 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.

Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for clients harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member got sick in this Schaumburg AmericInn outbreak, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Illinois health officials have linked an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease to the AmericInn by Wyndham Hotel in Schaumburg, about 30 miles northwest of the Chicago Loop.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) conducted an environmental investigation of the AmericInn (1300 East Higgins Road), and traced both illnesses back to it. No information was released on either victim.

“Both confirmed cases reported use of water in their guest rooms, the hot tub, and pool during hotel stays in July and August 2019,” according to an IDPH news release.

Hotel officials voluntarily shuttered the pool and hot tub areas until the investigation is complete.

“As the epidemiological and environmental investigation of this Legionnaires’ disease cluster continues, it is important to release this information to ensure the guests are aware and seek treatment if they become symptomatic,” IDPH director Ngozi Ezike said.

Schaumburg AmericInn: guests warned

Hotel officials said they are reaching out to all guests who lodged there from June 13 to August 16 (last Thursday). Guests are being instructed to contact the CCDPH if they exhibit symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease or suffer from respiratory 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.

Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious – that is, it cannot be passed from person to person. The condition is treatable with antibiotics (medicines that kill bacteria in the body) when diagnosed early enough, although if that does not occur, it can lead to complications.

Schaumburg AmericInn: disease complications

Although the disease primarily affects the lungs, it occasionally can cause infections in wounds and other parts of the body, including the heart. Hospitalization is almost always necessary after the diagnosis of the disease.

In the most severe cases, complications can develop, such as:

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

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

  • people 50 or older
  • smokers (current or former)
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
  • people with chronic lung disease, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, most commonly emphysema or bronchitis)
  • people with weakened immune systems.
Schaumburg AmericInn: about Legionella

Legionnaires’ disease occurs when Legionella bacteria are inhaled in the form of microscopic water droplets, such as vapor or mist. Legionella thrive in warm water and are found primarily in human-made environments, such as:

  • water systems of large buildings (hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.)
  • air-conditioning system cooling towers
  • large plumbing systems
  • 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.
Schaumburg AmericInn: Outbreak? Cluster?

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 the Schaumburg illnesses as an “outbreak” because two or more cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported within weeks of each other and occurred in a more limited geographic area – meaning officials were able to identify the AmericInn as a possible source, despite the fact that Illinois health officials referred to it as a “cluster.”

If two or more illnesses occurred in the same general vicinity within a period of three to 12 months, the term “cluster” would be used.

Schaumburg AmericInn: no stranger to Illinois

The state of Illinois has an active relationship with Legionnaires’ disease, reporting 510 cases last year, and 242 confirmed so far in 2019. At the end of July, Rush Oak Park in suburban Chicago became the fourth hospital in the area to experience an outbreak in the past four months. The others:

  • In April, two illnesses were confirmed at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center.
  • In May, two cases were confirmed at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
  • In June, four cases were confirmed at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Hospital patients were the victims in nine of the 10 cases; one employee at Advocate Christ Medical Center also was infected.

Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for clients harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member got sick in this Chesterfield County outbreak, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Virginia health officials have found Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, at seven locations in Chesterfield County, including three schools and a hospital.

There have been 11 confirmed Legionnaires cases in the northeast quadrant of the county since May 1, the most recent confirmed Aug. 8. Local health officials said they usually expect to see an average of three cases throughout a summer.

The discovery comes weeks after officials for the Chesterfield Health District (CHD) announced they are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to pinpoint the Legionella source.

Chesterfield County outbreak: 7 locations

Last week, Chesterfield County officials announced that Legionella bacteria was discovered in the cooling tower at Greenfield Elementary School, 10751 Savoy Road, Richmond. Since that time, testing has revealed Legionella in six additional buildings:

  • Falling Creek Middle School, 4724 Hopkins Road, North Chesterfield.
  • Johnston-Willis Hospital, the only state-authorized Level III Trauma Center in Chesterfield County, 1401 Johnston Willis Dr., North Chesterfield.
  • Midlothian Middle School, 13501 Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian.
  • Reynolds Metals Co., 2001 Reymet Road, North Chesterfield.
  • Richmond Ice Zone, an ice skating rink at 636 Johnston Willis Dr., North Chesterfield.
  • U.S. Defense Supply Center Richmond, 8000 Jefferson Davis Highway, Richmond.

Legionella was found in the cooling towers of five buildings and the ice sheet cooling system at Richmond Ice Zone.

“Because there were no common water or facility exposures identified among cases,” according to the CHD, “cooling towers became a suspected mode of transmission.”

Chesterfield County outbreak: results pending

CHD officials said they have collected samples from 12 sites within a common geographical area. Other sites that were tested, with results pending, include:

  • Aleris, 1801 Reymet Road, Richmond.
  • Hopkins Road Elementary School, 6000 Hopkins Road, North Chesterfield.
  • Kaiser Aluminum, 1901 Reymet Road, Richmond.
  • Meadowbrook High School, 4901 Cogbill Road, North Chesterfield.
  • U.S. Marine Corps Services Center, 6000 Strathmore Road, North Chesterfield.

None of the sites testing positive have been linked definitively to the 11 Legionnaires cases, but they have not been ruled out either, according to CHD director Alexander Samuel.

“The risk to residents or visitors to Chesterfield County remains small,” Dr. Samuel said. “The health department continues to make every effort to identify cases of Legionnaires’ disease and will continue to work with facilities to remediate any potential source of exposure.”

Chesterfield County outbreak: high risk

The risk of getting sick from a building’s water supply is very low, especially for healthy individuals. As a matter of fact, most people exposed to Legionella do not get sick.

Anyone over the age of 50, however – 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.

The 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.

The most important thing you can do is to get medical attention right away if you start exhibiting symptoms.

Chesterfield County outbreak: symptoms

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

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

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

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

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

Chesterfield County outbreak: oversight lacking

Hospitals and nursing homes are required to provide stringent oversight of building water systems and medical equipment that could expose patients to Legionella. However, there is little regulatory oversight of schools, 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,” said Elliott Olsen, who has filed Legionnaires lawsuits on behalf of patients and their families for more than two decades. “I am not aware of any oversight really at any level.”

Chesterfield County outbreak: cooling towers

Cooling towers contain large amounts of water and are potential breeding grounds for Legionella, if they are not properly disinfected and maintained, according to the CDC. Water within cooling towers is heated via heat exchange, which is an ideal environment for heat-loving Legionella to grow.

As the cooling tower moves air through a recirculated water system, it releases a “considerable amount of water vapor” into the atmosphere, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If it contains Legionella, people can get sick by inhaling that vapor.

Sickened in NYC outbreak? Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for clients who have been harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires in an NYC outbreak, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC Health) is investigating a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at a Lower East Side condo complex after a second resident was confirmed with the disease in the past 12 months.

The outbreak occurred at the Two Bridges Condominium Complex at 251-253-255 Clinton Street, 291-305-307-309-311 Cherry Street, and 291-293-295 Jefferson Street.

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

“The Health Department and building management are promptly alerting residents of the situation and providing guidance on how to prevent exposure, especially for those at higher risk for disease,” NYC Health assistant press secretary Michael Lanza wrote in a statement released to the public.

Environmental testing results of the water system are expected back within two to three weeks. The tests will confirm whether Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires, is present in the system.

NYC outbreak: water ‘safe’

NYC Health stressed that it is safe for tenants to continue to drink and use the water. However, department officials recommend the following precautions:

  • Don’t take a shower, since it could create water vapor (mist). Instead, take a bath but fill the tub slowly. Try to minimize time in the bathroom while the tub is filling.
  • It’s OK to wash dishes but fill the sink slowly to avoid creating a mist.
  • It’s fine to drink cold water from the tap but start with cold water when heating water for tea, coffee or cooking.

Legionnaires’ disease is usually caught by breathing in infected water vapor. It’s treatable with antibiotics.

NYC outbreak: disease symptoms

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

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

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

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

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

NYC outbreak: multiple incidents

New York City has avoided large outbreaks this year, like the two outbreaks that infected Upper Manhattan in 2018, resulting in two deaths and 60 illnesses. Small outbreaks, however, have popped up around the city this year, including:

  • In July, two cases of the respiratory illness were confirmed within the past 12 months at Manhattan Plaza (400 West 43rd Street) in Hell’s Kitchen.
  • Also last month, two illnesses were reported in Queens at 20-02, 20-04, 20-06, 20-08, 20-10 and 20-12 Seagirt Boulevard.
  • The Brielle at Seaview, a non-profit, assisted-living facility for seniors on Staten Island, also dealt with an outbreak last month when a second illness was diagnosed within eight months.
  • In February, NYC Health confirmed that two cases occurred at the Bronx River Houses within the previous year.
NYC outbreak: disease info

An estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur in the United States every year, according to the CDC. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific symptoms.

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

Other people more susceptible to infection include:

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

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

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

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

According to CDC statistics, about one out of every 10 people (10 percent) infected with Legionnaires’ disease will die due to complications from the illness.

NYC outbreak: possible sources

Legionella bacteria 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
  • swimming pools
  • whirlpools and hot tubs
  • physical-therapy equipment
  • mist machines and hand-held sprayers
  • decorative fountains.

Warm, stagnant water provides ideal conditions for growth, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). At temperatures between 68 degrees and 122 degrees Fahrenheit, the organism can multiply. Temperatures of 90 degrees to 105 degrees are ideal for growth.

Sickened in Sheraton Atlanta outbreak? Call (612) 337-6126

Elliot Olsen has regained millions for people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a loved one were sickened in this Sheraton Atlanta outbreak, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


The Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Sheraton Atlanta continues to get worse, as the first death was reported.

Autopsy results for Cameo Garrett of suburban Decatur, about 7 miles east of downtown Atlanta, listed the cause of death as “coronary artery atherosclerosis aggravated by Legionella pneumonia.” The 49-year-old woman died July 9, shortly after attending Syn-Lod 2019, the Top Ladies of Distinction Inc. Conference, which was held at the Sheraton from June 26 to July 2. Garrett did not lodge at the Sheraton Atlanta, she merely attended the conference.

Nancy Nydam, a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), said Garrett is one of 12 lab-confirmed cases from the outbreak. Six more “probable” cases have been identified, however, increasing that number to 61. (Lab testing has not confirmed the “probable” cases, which include people who had illnesses consistent with Legionnaires’ disease, such as pneumonia.)

The source of Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, has yet to be located or connected definitively to the hotel. No other locations, however, are being investigated.

DeKalb County medical examiner Pat Bailey said it was possible that Garrett could have died from the heart disease even without the infection but had no chance under the additional strain of Legionnaires’ disease.

Atlanta outbreak: symptoms

“She was having stomach problems; intestinal problems,” Al Garrett, Cameo’s father, told WSB-TV.

Terri Lewis, a friend of Cameo Garrett’s, told 11 Alive WXIA-TV that she had been complaining about not feeling well. Lewis said Garrett said her stomach was bothering her and that she had a fever.

Al Garrett and Lewis found Cameo dead in her home on July 9 when performing a welfare check after not hearing from her for five days.

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

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

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

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

Atlanta outbreak: severe complications

According to the World Health Organization, Legionnaires’ death occurs through progressive pneumonia with respiratory failure or shock and multi-organ failure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has its headquarters in Atlanta, estimates that one out of every 10 people who get sick with Legionnaires’ disease will die due to complications from the illness.

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

High-risk categories
Anyone can contract Legionnaires’ disease, but those at the most significant risk of infection include:

  • people 50 or older
  • smokers (current or former)
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
  • people with chronic lung disease, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, most commonly emphysema or bronchitis)
  • people with weakened immune systems.

Numerous complications
After the disease has been diagnosed, hospitalization is almost always necessary. In the most severe cases, complications can develop, such as:

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

Treated with antibiotics
Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious – that is, it cannot be passed from person to person. The condition is treatable with antibiotics (medicines that kill bacteria in the body) when diagnosed early enough, although if that does not occur, it can lead to complications.

Atlanta outbreak: officials proactive

“Sheraton Atlanta continues to work closely with public health officials and environmental experts to determine if the hotel is the source of the Legionella outbreak,” read a statement released by Ken Pedruzzi, general manager of the Sheraton Atlanta. “Testing of the property happened last week, and the hotel has voluntarily moved ahead with precautionary remedial activities while awaiting results. The health and safety of our employees and guests is our top priority. Sheraton Atlanta remains closed until at least August 11 (Sunday). ”

The hotel voluntarily closed July 15, the date that the first three cases were confirmed.

According to Georgia health officials, Garrett’s death increases the state total to seven people who have died from Legionnaires’ disease this year.

Sick with Legionnaires?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for clients who have been harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member got sick in a Harlem Legionnaires outbreak, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


The health department is evaluating the water system at a NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) apartment complex in Harlem after two residents were sickened with Legionnaires’ disease in the past year.

Residents of the Drew Hamilton Houses — located on Frederick Douglass Boulevard — received letters in the mail that two of the complex’s buildings are being evaluated for Legionella bacteria, according to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). Drew Hamilton Houses is a 734-unit affordable housing community.

The DOHMH’s public notification protocol for Legionnaires’ disease requires health officials to inform tenants when there are two or more cases reported at a single building in a 12-month period.

Harlem Legionnaires: Water system suspected

Last year, two outbreaks in Upper Manhattan killed two and infected 59, and the cooling tower at Harlem’s Sugar Hill Project was the source for both outbreaks. Drew Hamilton Houses does not have a cooling tower, which is why the water system is the leading suspect.

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

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

The department is evaluating Drew Hamilton Houses’ water system and will test it for Legionella. Tenants still can use and drink the water, but residents are reminded that even fast-running water in someone’s sink – warm or cool – can create vapor that can be inhaled, so practice these precautions:

  • Don’t shower – instead, take a bath, filling the tub slowly, and minimizing your time in the bathroom while the water is running.
  • Wash dishes but fill the sink slowly to avoid creating a mist.
  • Drink cold water from the tap and start with cold water when heating water for coffee, tea, or cooking.
  • Wash your hands.
  • You do not need to wear a mask.
Harlem Legionnaires: 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
  • people with suppressed immune systems

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.

About 10 percent of people infected with Legionella will die from the infection.

Elsewhere in NYC

Water restrictions extended for The Brielle at Seaview: Residents at The Brielle at Seaview in Staten Island were told to continue to follow DOHMH water restrictions after the facility’s water supply tested positive for Legionella.

“Until we receive the results from the August 1 testing, the DOH has decided to maintain their recommendation for water restriction,” a letter to residents read.

One unoccupied room out of 26 test sites at the non-profit, assisted-living facility, collected on July 1, came back positive for the bacteria. Legionella was not present in results from June 11 testing, which was collected after a second resident within a year was diagnosed with Legionnaires.

This is the second water restriction at The Brielle in the past year. A five-month water restriction was lifted in April after the first illness was confirmed last November.

“The Brielle has spared no expense to monitor the system and mitigate this problem,” a spokesperson for The Brielle said, “and as evidenced by the fact that 25 out of 26 samples were negative, it is working.”

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

Both residents have recovered, although no additional information on either was released. The illnesses represent the third time in four years that a resident at The Brielle contracted Legionnaires’ disease; the first illness occurred in 2016.

Sickened in Sheraton Atlanta outbreak? Call (612) 337-6126

Elliot Olsen has regained millions for people injured by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or someone you know was sickened in this Sheraton Atlanta outbreak, please call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


The Sheraton Atlanta outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease exploded as health officials announced the addition of 55 probable cases to go along with 11 confirmed cases – and that number will undoubtedly continue to grow.

Surveillance by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) helped uncover the suspected cases. Epidemiologists reviewed hundreds of survey responses from individuals who were guests of or visited the Sheraton Atlanta during the exposure period (June 12 to July 15).

The survey information also helps health officials understand where people were in the hotel as those officials try to pinpoint the source of the Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease.

The “probable” cases have not been confirmed in a lab but involve people with illnesses consistent with Legionnaires’ disease, such as pneumonia and flu.

About one in 10 people who come down with Legionnaires’ disease will die due to complications from the illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To date, there have been no fatalities connected to this outbreak.

Sheraton Atlanta outbreak: timeline
  • July 15: DPH confirms three cases connected to Sheraton Atlanta, and hotel officials announce that they are voluntarily closing the hotel until at least Aug. 11.
  • July 17: Three more cases are identified, increasing the number sickened to six.
  • July 22: Case count grows again as three more illnesses are announced.
  • July 24: The tally reaches double digits as the 10th case is diagnosed.
  • July 26: An 11th case is confirmed.
  • July 30: DPH announces 55 probable cases connected to the outbreak, but no new confirmed cases.

Because Legionella has not been found yet, officials can’t confirm the hotel as the source. However, no other locations are being investigated or tested.

The Sheraton Atlanta, located on Courtland Street, is the sixth-largest hotel in Atlanta with 763 rooms. The hotel shut down voluntarily “out of an abundance of caution,” and for environmental testing. The first samples were collected July 11, and a second round of testing was completed July 29.

Sheraton Atlanta outbreak: likely sources

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

  • water systems of large buildings (hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.)
  • air-conditioning system cooling towers, like those used on large buildings such as hotels
  • large plumbing systems
  • hot-water heaters and tanks
  • bathroom showers and faucets
  • swimming pools, whirlpools, hot tubs
  • physical-therapy equipment
  • mist machines and hand-held sprayers
  • decorative fountains.
Sheraton Atlanta outbreak: ‘thousands’ contacted

Officials for the state of Georgia are contacting thousands of people who stayed at the Sheraton Atlanta in June and July.

“If an individual, for example, has attended a conference at that hotel, we reach out to the conference organizers to see if they’ve heard of anyone,” said Cherie Drenzek, the state epidemiologist.

Some conferences that took place at the Sheraton Atlanta during the exposure period, but not a complete list, include:

  • Ranger Stop & Pop Con, June 21-23
  • National Adoption Conference, June 25-27
  • 41st Syn-Lod and the 50th Anniversary of Top Teens of America, June 26-July 2
  • Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America National Conference, July 4-6.
Sheraton Atlanta outbreak: be wary

State health officials are advising that if you were a guest, visitor, or employee at the Sheraton Atlanta during the exposure period and you are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should visit your health-care provider.

The DPH said that when seeking treatment, individuals should tell their health-care professional that they stayed at a hotel with a Legionella outbreak. This can help with proper treatment and assist with the investigation.

Even if you’ve visited the hotel more recently, if you’re exhibiting the symptoms below since your visit, you should seek medical attention to be safe.

Sheraton Atlanta outbreak: 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.

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

Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious – that is, it cannot be passed from person to person. The condition is treatable with antibiotics when diagnosed early enough, although if that does not occur, it can lead to severe complications.

A mild form of Legionnaires’ disease known as Pontiac fever may produce similar symptoms, including a fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches. Pontiac fever, however, doesn’t infect the lungs.

Sheraton Atlanta outbreak: high risk

“Legionnaires’ disease is not caused by a vaccine-preventable bug. It’s not a vaccine-preventable disease, and it’s not a communicable infectious disease,” Allison Chamberlain of the Emory Center for Public Health Preparedness and Research told the Augusta Chronicle. “While most people won’t get sick, those with underlying respiratory issues or perhaps those who are immuno-compromised are at greater 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.

Sick with Legionnaires?
Call (612) 337-6126

Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people injured by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member were sickened with Legionnaires at Rush Oak Park Hospital, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Rush Oak Park Hospital is the latest Chicago-area hospital being investigated for a possible Legionnaires’ disease outbreak after two patients were diagnosed with the sometimes-deadly pneumonia-like illness.

The two victims were patients at the hospital for only part of the time when they were likely exposed to Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). One was admitted in May, the other in mid-July.

Two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella is how long it takes for the disease to develop, so it’s unclear if the hospital was the source of the exposure.

The IDPH, however, confirmed in a press release that “previous water samples collected by the hospital” tested positive for Legionella. The IDPH is teaming with the Oak Park Department of Public Health and the hospital with data collection to pinpoint the source of the bacteria that caused the two illnesses.

Rush Oak Park: Legionella inhaled

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.)
  • air-conditioning system cooling towers
  • large plumbing systems
  • hot-water heaters and tanks
  • bathroom showers and faucets
  • whirlpools and hot tubs
  • physical-therapy equipment
  • mist machines and hand-held sprayers
  • swimming pools
  • decorative fountains.
Rush Oak Park: 4th in Chicago

The Rush Oak Park Hospital in Oak Park is the fourth Chicago-area hospital in four months that is being investigated by the IDPH for a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak:

Rush Oak Park: hospital skeptical

Rush Oak Park Hospital spokesperson Deb Song said the “likelihood of them contracting [Legionnaires’] here is unlikely.”

“The source of these two cases are yet to be determined,” Song told the Chicago Sun-Times. “The health and safety of our patients, visitors, and staff is of the utmost importance. Rush Oak Park Hospital has a comprehensive water-management program that follows the highest federal standards and CDC best practices.”

Hospital officials said they routinely conduct water tests, add disinfectant to the building water, flush pipes and install filters. They are conducting surveillance to identify other potential cases and to ensure appropriate testing and clinical management of patients

Rush Oak Park: growing problem

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection that is “an emerging disease in the sense that the number of recorded cases of Legionnaires in the United States continues to increase,” according to Laura Cooley of the Respiratory Diseases Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Cooley said she believes the increase is due to the rise in the susceptibility of the population – that is, more and more people are on immunosuppressive medications. Additionally, there could be more Legionella in the environment, with warmer temperatures creating the right conditions for bacterial growth.

Rush Oak Park: difficult diagnosis

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.

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.
Rush Oak Park: symptoms

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

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

Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious – that is, it cannot be passed from person to person. The condition is treatable with antibiotics when diagnosed early enough, although if that does not occur, it can lead to severe complications.

A mild form of Legionnaires’ disease — known as Pontiac fever — may produce signs and symptoms, including a fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches. Pontiac fever doesn’t infect your lungs, and symptoms usually manifest within two to five days.

Rush Oak Park: complications

Hospitalization is usually necessary after a Legionnaires’ diagnosis. In the most severe cases, complications can occur; they include:

  • respiratory failure: caused by changes to the lung tissue, or oxygen loss in arteries supplying the lungs.
  • septic shock: this can occur when Legionella produce toxins that enter the bloodstream and cause a drop in blood pressure, leading to the loss of adequate blood supply to the organs.
  • kidney failure: those same Legionella toxins can damage the kidneys’ ability to eliminate waste from the blood, resulting in kidney failure.
  • endocarditis: an infection of the inner lining of the heart that can affect the 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.

Sick with Legionnaires?
Call (612) 337-6126

Elliot Olsen has regained millions for people injured by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member were sickened in this Rocky Hill nursing facility outbreak, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Two residents at the Apple Rehab Rocky Hill nursing facility in Connecticut were sickened with Legionnaires’ disease, and one of them died from their disease, health officials confirmed.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) released a statement that it, along with Apple Rehab Rocky Hill, are “continuing a joint investigation to identify the environmental source of Legionella bacteria to protect patients, staff, and visitors.”

According to the statement, “DPH was notified on July 17, 2019, of a resident of the facility with Legionnaires’ disease. Legionella bacteria were also found in water samples tested by the facility.”

Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory infection caused by inhaling microscopic water droplets (mist or vapor) containing Legionella.

No other information was released on the two victims. Patients, staff, and visitors have been notified of the finding of Legionella in the water system.

“We have one definitive case of Legionnaires’ disease and have notified our residents and families,” Apple Rehab officials confirmed in a statement. “We are proactively monitoring patients with new symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, and cough for at least three months.”

Apple Rehab has 24 nursing homes in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Rocky Hill is a city of about 20,000 11 miles south of Hartford; the Rocky Hill nursing facility is located at 45 Elm Street.

Rocky Hill nursing facility: remediation begun

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

That being said, remediation efforts have begun at the Rocky Hill nursing facility. The water system is undergoing chlorine treatment, and additional environmental testing is expected as the DPH monitors Apple Rehab’s water quality and preventative measures.

Rocky Hill nursing facility: residents 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:

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

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

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

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

Rocky Hill nursing facility: growing problem

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection and is “an emerging disease in the sense that the number of recorded cases of Legionnaires in the United States continues to increase,” said Laura Cooley of the CDC’s Respiratory Diseases Branch.

Cooley said she believes the increase is due to an increase in the susceptibility of the population, with more and more people on immunosuppressive medications. There also could be more Legionella in the environment, with warmer temperatures creating the right conditions for bacterial growth.

Seventeen of the 18 warmest years since modern record-keeping began have occurred since 2001, according to analyses by both the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The four warmest years on record have all occurred since 2014, with 2017 being the warmest non-El Niño year ever.

2018 was the fourth hottest year on record. The only years hotter were the three previous ones.

DPH began routine legionellosis surveillance in 1997 (Legionnaires’ disease is also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia). Since then, annually reported cases have ranged from 15 to a record high of 201 last year.

Rocky Hill nursing facility: disease symptoms

According to the CDC, an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur in the United States every year. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of the disease’s nonspecific symptoms.

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

  • headaches
  • muscle pains
  • chills and 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 or blood
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pains (pleurisy)
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • confusion and other mental changes.

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

Sick with Legionnaires?
Call (612) 337-6126

Elliot Olsen has regained millions for people injured by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, please call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Update, July 25: The Georgia Department of Health confirmed yet another case of Legionnaires’ disease in people who recently stayed at or visited the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, increasing the outbreak total to 10. The latest outbreak update comes only two days after health officials confirmed three additional cases.

The Sheraton Atlanta Hotel closed its doors on July 15, when officials announced the first three illnesses. The hotel is scheduled to stay closed through at least Aug. 11 as testing continues in an effort to pinpoint the source.

Original post, July 24: As the number of people infected with Legionnaires’ disease tripled at the downtown Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, hotel officials announced the hotel would remain closed for about three weeks.

When the outbreak first was announced July 15, there were three confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, a sometimes-deadly respiratory illness. By July 19, however, the count had risen to nine. The only commonality between the nine victims is that all had been guests at the Sheraton Atlanta hotel.

Hotel management said the hotel would be closed to guests until at least August 11, as the building undergoes remediation (cleaning and disinfection) and environmental testing. More than 450 guests were relocated to other hotels, and future reservations were canceled or rebooked.

Sheraton Atlanta Hotel: investigation continues

Sheraton Atlanta general manager Ken Peduzzi confirmed that the Sheraton has hired environmental consultants to test the water in the pool, hot tub, water fountain, chillers, and other areas in the hotel.

“At this time, it remains unknown if the source of the exposure is located within the hotel,” Peduzzi was quoted in an e-mailed statement.

State and county health officials also collected samples from various areas throughout the hotel, but a definitive cause for the illnesses has not been discovered.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, there have been close to 90 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the state this year. Last year, there were 180 confirmed cases, a significant increase from 41 in 2008.

Sheraton Atlanta Hotel: oversight lacking

Hospitals and nursing homes are required to bolster oversight of building water systems and medical equipment that could expose patients to harmful Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease. There is, however, little regulatory oversight of hotels, apartments, and other non-medical buildings.

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

Sheraton Atlanta Hotel: Legionnaires info

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia or 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 United States every year. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

Legionella bacteria are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets in the form of mist or vapor.

Numerous tests can be done
According to the Mayo Clinic, to help identify the presence of Legionella quickly, your doctor may use a test that checks your urine for Legionella antigens — foreign substances that trigger an immune system response. You may also have undergo one or more of the following:

  • blood tests
  • chest X-ray, which doesn’t confirm Legionnaires’ disease but can show the extent of infection in your lungs
  • tests on a sample of your sputum or lung tissue
  • CT scan of your brain or a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) if you have neurological symptoms such as confusion or trouble concentrating

Symptoms are numerous
Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious – that is, it cannot be passed from person to person. It usually develops two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella. It frequently begins with the following symptoms:

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

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

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

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

High-risk categories
Anyone can get the disease, but those at the most significant risk of infection include:

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

Treated with antibiotics
Legionnaires’ disease requires treatment with antibiotics (medicines that kill bacteria in the body), and most cases of this illness can be treated successfully. However, if not diagnosed early, it can lead to severe complications.

Numerous 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 bloodstream and cause a drop in blood pressure, leading to the loss of adequate blood supply to the organs.
  • Kidney failure: those same Legionella toxins can damage the kidneys’ ability to eliminate waste from the blood, resulting in kidney failure.
  • Endocarditis: an infection of the inner lining of the heart that can affect the 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.