Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has won millions for his clients. If you or a family member got sick in this Covenant Living Legionnaires outbreak, you might have cause to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


The Covenant Living Legionnaires outbreak in Batavia, Illinois, has spread beyond the senior living community, with two additional cases of Legionnaires’ disease confirmed in the surrounding area.

Public health officials are warning residents of Covenant Living at the Holmstad (700 West Fabyan Parkway), as well as anyone living within a mile of the facility, to be on the lookout for symptoms of respiratory illness that could stem from exposure to Legionella bacteria.

The outbreak, which is now up to 14 illnesses, first made headlines when it was announced August 31 that four residents were hospitalized. The most recent cases were confirmed Thursday, when the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that it had received reports of two community-based cases.

In 2018, Illinois reported 512 cases of Legionnaires’ disease statewide. This year, there have been 255 confirmed cases.

Covenant Living Legionnaires outbreak: Legionella search continues

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious form of pneumonia (lung disease) that is also called legionellosis or Legionella pneumonia. It can be contracted by breathing in small droplets of water (mist or vapor) containing Legionella bacteria.

At Covenant Living, officials said the two new cases prompted them to test additional samples at Covenant Living and within a 1-mile radius of the campus. The IDPH also has “recommended remediation steps of suspected sources,” agency leaders said.

For updates on the outbreak or for more information about Legionnaires’ disease, go to KaneHealth.com/Pages/Menu-Disease.aspx.

Covenant Living Legionnaires outbreak: neighbor sickened

Angela Prusinski, who lives about three blocks from Covenant Living, said she started feeling ill after a family picnic Sept. 1, but because she has underlying health conditions and underwent surgery in July, she told the Daily Herald that she thought, “Maybe I just overdid it today.”

When she awoke the next day, however, she said she had chills and muscle aches, and she “felt awful, worse than the flu.”

Prusinski said she went to the emergency room that night with stomach aches and cramping, although she had not yet experienced respiratory problems. After learning that her white blood cell count was elevated, doctors prescribed a broad-spectrum antibiotic and sent her home.

She returned to the hospital Sept. 7, and tests performed then revealed she had elevated blood pressure and a high resting heart rate – and doctors discovered she had bacterial pneumonia in her left lung.

Prusinski underwent more tests and was sent home Sept. 10. Two days later, she got a call from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kane County Health Department (KCHD) informing her that she had Legionnaires’ disease.

The identity of the second nearby resident has not been released.

Covenant Living Legionnaires outbreak: difficult diagnosis

Public health officials are advising that residents, employees, and visitors to Covenant Living who are feeling flu- or pneumonia-like symptoms see their doctor immediately.

Symptoms generally develop two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella, and they usually begin with severe headaches, muscle aches, fever (which can be 104 degrees or higher), and chills.

By Day 2 or 3, symptoms often worsen to include:

  • coughing, which can produce mucus or blood
  • dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • chest pains (pleurisy or pleuritic chest pains)
  • gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, 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.

Covenant Living Legionnaires outbreak: seniors at risk

Most people exposed to Legionella do not get sick, but people older than 50 – especially those who smoke or have a chronic lung disease (such as COPD) – are at a much greater risk of becoming infected. Other people more susceptible to infection include:

  • organ-transplant recipients
  • anyone on a specific drug protocol, such as corticosteroids
  • alcoholics.

The list also includes anyone with an immune system that has been compromised because of:

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

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

Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has won millions for his clients. If you or a family member got sick in this Covenant Living outbreak, you might have cause to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


The Kane County Health Department (KCHD) announced that four more cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been diagnosed in residents at Covenant Living at the Holmstad in Batavia, Illinois, increasing the number of residents sickened to eight.

Four residents were hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease last month at the senior living community, which is located at 700 West Fabyan Parkway.

“Two cases were reported to us this week, we received word of an early-onset case from mid-August, and an additional case reported this past Saturday,” KCHD’s news release quoted executive director Barbara Jeffers. “We are working closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health and Covenant Living to monitor this situation.”

Covenant Living outbreak: test results pending

Health officials have yet to locate the source of the Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease.

“Water testing results are still pending with IDPH to determine if there is a source of Legionella bacteria on the Holmstad campus,” Amanda Gosnell, Covenant Living executive director, was quoted in the release. “However, because the safety of our residents, guests, and employees is our top priority, we have proactively and aggressively moved forward with several of the measures that could potentially be advised in the event of a positive result.

“We continue to collaborate closely with water management experts and state and the Kane County health departments and are following all recommendations; under their advisement, we continue to welcome visitors and maintain regular operations.”

Covenant Living outbreak: proactive measures taken

Since the initial report, Covenant Living officials have kept residents and employees informed of the situation and have been collaborating with both the state and county on proactive measures, the release stated.

More information about Legionnaires’ disease and updates on the outbreak can be found at KaneHealth.com/Pages/Menu-Disease.aspx.

In 2018, Illinois reported 512 cases of Legionnaires’ disease statewide. So far, 2019 has produced 251 confirmed illnesses.

Covenant Living outbreak: difficult diagnosis

Seek care from your health-care provider if you are a resident, employee or have visited Covenant Living recently and are feeling flu- or pneumonia-like symptoms, which usually develop two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella. Initial symptoms include:

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

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

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

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, such as COPD (most commonly, bronchitis or emphysema)
  • people with weakened immune systems.
Covenant Living outbreak: warm water problematic

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, because of the disease’s vague symptoms, only 5,000 cases are reported.

A person contracts Legionella bacteria 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.
Covenant Living outbreak: numerous complications

Hospitalization is almost always required after a diagnosis of Legionnaires’ disease. In the most severe cases, complications can occur, 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, 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.

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

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

Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has won millions for his clients. If you or a family member got sick in this Covenant Living outbreak, you might have cause to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Illinois health officials are probing a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Batavia after four seniors were hospitalized with the sometimes-deadly lung infection.

The four sickened were residents at Covenant Living at the Holmstad, according to a Kane County Health Department (KCHD) news release. Investigators have been at Covenant Living for days searching for a source of the Legionella bacteria, causes Legionnaires’ disease.

“Four people were hospitalized when they came down with symptoms,” KCHD public information officer Susan Stack told the Chicago Tribune. “We do not know if they are still hospitalized, or if they were treated and released.”

Officials at the senior residence have notified residents, family members, significant others, and staff members about the outbreak.

“Public health officials are testing for Legionella bacteria and continue to investigate to identify potential sources and additional individuals who may have been exposed during this period,” KCHD executive director Barbara Jeffers was quoted in a news release. “Covenant Living is working closely with public health officials.”

In 2018, Illinois reported 512 cases of Legionnaires’ disease statewide. So far, 2019 has produced 251 confirmed illnesses.

Covenant Living outbreak: symptoms

Seek care from your health-care provider if you are a resident, employee of or have visited Covenant Living recently and are feeling flu- or pneumonia-like symptoms, which usually develop two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella:

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

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

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

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, such as COPD (most commonly, bronchitis or emphysema)
  • people with weakened immune systems.
Covenant Living outbreak: difficult diagnosis

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, because of the disease’s vague symptoms, only 5,000 cases are reported.

A person contracts Legionella bacteria 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.
Covenant Living outbreak: complications

Hospitalization is almost always required after a diagnosis of Legionnaires’ disease. In the most severe cases, complications can occur, 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, 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.

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

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

Covenant Living outbreak: VA woes

The Illinois Veterans Home-Manteno (IVH-Manteno) has reported a single case of Legionnaires’ disease. The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) notified all residents, families, and staff. The sickened resident is in stable condition.

In January, an IVH-Manteno resident passed away, becoming the 15th Illinois veterans’ home fatality since 2015 caused by Legionnaires’ disease; 14 were residents of the IVH-Quincy. After the Manteno fatality, three fixtures tested positive for low levels of Legionella at the facility: a faucet, a sink, and a shower.

Last week officials conducted a thermal treatment response. As a precaution, the facility shut down the resident’s sinks, ice machine, and community shower. Water use is restricted, and residents and staff are receiving bottled water.

Covenant Living outbreak: Illinois busy

Last month, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) linked two confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease to the AmericInn by Wyndham Hotel in Schaumburg and was investigating the outbreak with the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH). Both victims used the water in their guest rooms, the hot tub, and pool during their stays at the hotel in July and August.

Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has won millions for clients. If you or a family member got sick in this LaPorte County outbreak, you might have cause to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Three Indiana government employees are recovering after contracting Legionnaires’ disease in July.

“They’re back to work but not quite fully recovered from the severe form of pneumonia,” said Dr. Vidya Kora, LaPorte County Commission president.

The LaPorte County employees, who all worked in the same building (which was not identified), were infected by a cooling tower on a county building across from the LaPorte County Complex.

One illness was so severe that the patient developed sepsis, which is an extreme response to an infection. Without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and even death.

LaPorte County outbreak: prime suspect

Officials immediately suspected the cooling tower as the source, because of the water inside it. Subsequent environmental tests of the cooling tower confirmed their suspicions and returned positive results for Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease.

Officials said they believe bacteria likely was formed by the extreme rise in temperatures and humidity during July. Also, nearby work on a highway overpass was considered a possible culprit as dust from the construction could have carried and distributed the bacteria.

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.

“Legionnaires is usually caused by a mist of water,” Kora said.

LaPorte County outbreak: water droplets

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.
LaPorte County outbreak: multiple cleanings

Maintenance crews disinfected the cooling tower, but it took two rounds of cleaning and disinfection before test results were Legionella-free. There are additional county buildings with cooling towers, Kora said, but officials don’t have plans to test other buildings.

LaPorte County outbreak: oversight lacking

Hospitals and nursing homes are required to provide rigorous oversight of building water systems and medical equipment that could expose patients to harmful Legionella. There is, however, little regulatory oversight of apartments, hotels, and other non-medical buildings.

“There’s not a lot of people checking up on a hotel, a condominium or a large building,” said Elliott Olsen, who has filed Legionnaires lawsuits on behalf of patients and their families for more than 20 years. “I am not aware of any oversight really at any level.”

LaPorte County outbreak: disease FAQs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elliot Olsen is one of the country’s leading Legionnaires lawyers. If you or a family member became ill in this Rodeway Inn outbreak, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


The Rodeway Inn & Suites in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, reopened to the public August 20 after voluntarily closing for almost a week after a second case of Legionnaires’ disease was confirmed within 12 months.

The hotel, located at 1738 Comfort Drive, shut its doors August 16 to find the source of the Legionella – the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease – and to remediate its water system.

Both illnesses involved hotel guests who were diagnosed with Legionnaires within two weeks of their stay, health officials said. The timetable of the illnesses was not released, nor was the condition of the patients and whether either required hospitalization.

Although the hotel has reopened, the pool and whirlpool remain off-limits to guests.

Rodeway Inn outbreak: OK to open

The hotel’s reopening was authorized by the Lincoln County Health Department (LCHD), which issued a conditional permit based on the hotel meeting interim requirements to address Legionella issues. The hotel was ordered to install point-of-use filters on faucets and showers to minimize exposure risk to Legionella.

Hotel officials also have been required to work with an environmental expert to develop a water-management plan, which will be used to identify possible hazardous conditions and take steps to minimize the growth and spread of Legionella and other waterborne pathogens.

The LCHD is being aided in its investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Division of Public Health (DPH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other state partners.

“In the meantime, guests are notified that there still is Legionella,” LCHD director Shelley Hersil said. “It’s being filtered out of the faucets and the showerheads, but it still is in the water system.”

Individuals planning to stay or visit the hotel are advised to evaluate their risk for possible infection or talk to their health provider if they have concerns.

Rodeway Inn outbreak: high risk

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

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

After it 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.
  • 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.
Rodeway Inn outbreak: Legionella homes

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection. According to the CDC, an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur in the United States every year. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

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

  • 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.
Rodeway Inn 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.

Rodeway Inn outbreak: Wisconsin woes

Legionnaires’ disease has proven very lethal in outbreaks within the state of Wisconsin in the past year as four patients have died:

  • In March, health officials announced three people were diagnosed with the disease over a 12-month span, all within two weeks after stays at Christmas Mountain Resort in Wisconsin Dells, and one person died. The resort’s water system tested positive for Legionella.
  • In late 2018, a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak linked to UW Hospital and Clinic in Madison sickened 14 people with three deaths. Testing uncovered Legionella in the hospital’s water system.

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.