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Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has regained millions for his clients. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease in Washington Heights, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


Attorneys Elliot Olsen of Minneapolis and Scott Harford of Manhattan have filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Manhattan woman who was sickened during last year’s second Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Washington Heights.

The lawsuit is the first concerning the two Washington Heights outbreaks, which claimed two lives, sickened almost 60, and hospitalized more than 50.

Mr. Harford’s office filed the complaint Thursday Feb. 14 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York, naming three defendants:

  • Broadway Housing Communities, Inc.
  • Broadway Housing Development Fund Company, Inc.
  • Broadway Sugar Hill Housing Development Fund Company, Inc.

According to the complaint, Vivian Weeks was infected with Legionella bacteria in late September while visiting the Church of the Intercession (550 West 155th Street). In early October, Ms. Weeks developed symptoms that included shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, difficulty breathing, body aches, and fever, and on Oct. 5, she was admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital. During her extended stay, she was diagnosed with Legionella pneumonia (Legionnaires’ disease), and she continues to experience complications from the disease.

Washington Heights outbreaks:
Sugar Hill Project pinpointed

In early October, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) began investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease cases in the lower Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan – the second outbreak to affect the area in 2018. That outbreak produced 32 illnesses; 30 victims were hospitalized, and one died.

The DOHMH investigation found that clinical specimens of Legionella from patients matched the strain of Legionella found in the cooling tower at the Sugar Hill Project (898 St. Nicholas Avenue), which is less than a quarter-mile from the Church of the Intercession.

“After a comprehensive investigation, the Health Department has identified the cooling tower at the Sugar Hill Project as the likely source,” said Dr. Oxiris Barbot, who was then-acting health commissioner of the DOHMH. (Dr. Barbot has since been elevated to commissioner.)

The complaint filed by Olsen and Harford states that the defendants “did not warn area residents and visitors of the risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease by exposure to the building’s cooling tower.”

The DOHMH started monitoring the Sugar Hill Project after the first outbreak last July and August, when 27 area residents were sickened, 25 were hospitalized, and one died. The DOHMH investigation also pinpointed the Sugar Hill Project cooling tower as the “most likely” source for that outbreak.

It was the first time that one cooling tower had been linked to two separate outbreaks in the same year, health officials said at the time.

“DOHMH needs to move immediately to put in place better protocols to prevent this kind of repeat contamination,” NYC City Council member Mark Levine said.

Washington Heights outbreaks:
Legionnaires information

Legionnaires’ disease – sometimes called legionellosis or Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria, or Legionella pneumophila.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that about 25,000 Americans are sickened yearly with Legionnaires, and about 2,500 victims will die. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

Legionella bacteria are usually contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets (mist or vapor). Legionella grow best in warm water, and are primarily found in human-made environments.

Multiple sources have been proven to be conducive to the growth of Legionella:

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

Disease symptoms
Legionnaires’ disease is similar to other types of pneumonia, and symptoms can even resemble those of influenza (flu), which is why it often goes under-reported. Early symptoms generally include:

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

Symptoms can then worsen to include:

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

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

People at greatest risk
Anyone can develop Legionnaires’ disease, but people who are most susceptible include:

  • people 50 years old or older
  • smokers, current and former
  • people with suppressed immune systems
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
  • people with chronic lung disease
  • organ-transplant recipients
  • people on specific drug protocols (corticosteroids, for example).

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


The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC Health) confirmed that two cases of Legionnaires’ disease occurred at the Bronx River Houses within the past year.

“The risk to residents of contracting Legionnaires’ disease remains very low,” according to a statement posted by NYC Health on every floor of the low-income public housing project.

Despite the health department’s reassurance, tenants fear exposure to the potentially deadly bacterial disease.

“The Department of Health and NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) wanted to speak about it,” Norma Saunders, the Bronx River Houses resident leader, told News 12 The Bronx. “We have 11 buildings. Two of the buildings are NYCHA senior buildings. We have a community center which houses seniors and youth programs, so we really need to know if we’re in danger of getting this disease.”

“I haven’t heard anything about that,” resident Eric Webb said to WNBC 4 New York, adding that it is a concern “ ’cause I drink the water.”

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

Bronx River Houses consists of 10 14-story high-rise buildings and one 6-story low-rise building with more than 1,250 apartments and 3,000-plus residents in the Soundview section of The Bronx. The 13.94-acre development, which opened in 1951, is bordered by East 174th Street, Harrod, and Bronx River avenues.

Tenants received written notification from NYC Health informing them that water testing would be performed. Health and NYCHA officials met with tenants at 1571 and 1575 East 174th Street in late January to discuss the situation and answer questions.

No information was provided on the timing of the two tenants’ illnesses or what their current conditions were.

If you’re sick, get checked

NYC Health urges residents or employees of Bronx Rivers Houses, visitors to the housing project, or individuals traveling through the immediate area who are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms to seek “immediate medical attention.” Those symptoms:

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

Elsewhere in New York City

Legionella found at UHB

Water testing at University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) uncovered a high percentage of Legionella bacteria in the building’s water supply, causing the water taps to be temporarily shut down in the 342-bed teaching hospital.

Officials for the hospital, which is part of the SUNY Downstate campus, announced that staff and patients would use only bottled water for drinking and brushing their teeth, and to avoid showering until the system can be remediated. “Bath in a bag” products are being provided instead of showers.

“While we understand that these actions may cause concern, we want to assure the UHB community that we are taking all appropriate actions to address the matter,” Dawn Skeete-Walker, associate vice president of communications and marketing at SUNY Downstate, said in a statement.

The restrictions will be enforced until showerhead replacements, and the installation of a filtration system in ice machines have been completed, and the state Department of Health has reviewed and approved the institution’s remediation, according to Skeete-Walker.

“It’s important to stress that Legionnaires’ disease is not spread from person-to-person,” Skeete-Walker said. “The hospital is open and safe for patients, staff, and visitors.”

“According to an internal memo, a patient at the hospital was recently diagnosed with the disease, but was most likely already infected before coming to the hospital,” the New York Daily News reported. “It is unclear if there is any connection between that patient and the bacterial strain behind the new precautions.”

Legionella also was discovered at Park Slope’s New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in December.

Upgrade for NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln

NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln completed installation of a “state-of-art, antimicrobial” cooling tower. The towers include antimicrobial features that will reduce the growth of dangerous bacterias, including Legionella. The primary function of the towers will be to support the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system.

Engineers believe the modern towers will reduce energy consumption by about 40 percent.

The new towers replace towers that had reached the end of their lifespan, not because of any health concerns they had caused. Improved safety to the community was a significant factor in their selection.

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


Two cases of Legionnaires’ disease since November have prompted officials at Alomere Health hospital in Alexandria, Minnesota, to work with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to try and identify possible sources of Legionella bacteria.

The first patient was sickened at Alomere Health, located at 111 17th Avenue East, in late November; that patient recovered. The most recent patient infected with the sometimes-deadly respiratory illness developed Legionnaires’ disease symptoms in late January and remains hospitalized.

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets in the form of mist or vapor containing Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella occur in the United States yearly. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

According to the MDH, Minnesota had more than 150 cases reported around the state in 2018.

Consultant hired
Alomere Health has contracted an independent environmental consultant to “conduct a complete assessment and testing of the facility’s water system and address potential sources for the bacteria,” according to an MDH news release.

Additionally, the hospital has implemented the following recommendations from the MDH in an attempt to minimize the risk of exposure to patients and employees:

  • Restricted the use of showers; patients can use bathtubs without using water jets.
  • Restricted the use of hand sprayers.
  • Bottled water must be used by patients on medical/surgical and ICU units for drinking, brushing teeth, and other oral care.

The MDH stated that the “recommendations only apply to patients and employees at Alomere Health. Alexandria’s municipal water supply meets water-quality standards.”

Hospital staff also has begun notifying patients and families about the outbreak, as well as informing them of the steps being taken by the hospital.

The MDH is contacting area health-care providers to be on alert for additional patients with possible Legionnaires symptoms.

Watch for symptoms
If you are a patient, employee or visitor to Alomere Health and you are experiencing pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should seek care from your health-care provider out of an abundance of caution. Those symptoms include:

If you have any questions, concerns or are experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact Alomere Health at 320-762-6019 and ask for Bonnie Freudenberg, the hospital’s director of quality, or Margaret Kalina, VP of patient-care services. In addition, you can call the MDH at 651-201-5414.

More on Legionnaires’ disease

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

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

Other people more susceptible to infection include:

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

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

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

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

Possible Legionella sources
Legionella 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.)
  • bathroom showers and faucets
  • physical-therapy equipment
  • whirlpools and hot tubs
  • swimming pools
  • air-conditioning system cooling towers
  • large plumbing systems
  • hot-water heaters and tanks
  • decorative fountains
  • mist machines and hand-held sprayers.

Temps from 90 to 105 ideal
Warm, stagnant water provides ideal conditions for Legionella growth, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Temperatures between 68 degrees and 122 degrees Fahrenheit provide ideal conditions for Legionella to multiply. Temperatures between 90 degrees and 105 degrees provide conditions that are ideal for Legionella to grow.

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


Legionnaires’ disease continues to trouble Illinois veterans’ homes after a Manteno veterans’ home resident succumbed to the disease, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) announced.

The resident passed away Jan. 20, becoming the 15th Illinois veterans’ home (IVH) fatality since 2015 caused by Legionnaires’ disease. No other details were released on the latest victim.

Earlier last week, Brigadier General Stephen Curda, acting director of the IDVA, confirmed the discovery of “low levels” of Legionella bacteria in preliminary water tests collected at the IVH-Manteno facility.

“These results showed low levels of legionellosis at three fixtures: a faucet, a sink, and a shower,” Curda wrote in a letter to residents, family members and staff. “These three water fixtures were immediately taken out of service.”

Results of follow-up testing are expected by the end of this week.

IVH-Quincy was first
The Manteno home is located in north-central Illinois, approximately 50 miles south of Chicago. It is the second veterans’ home hit by the deadly respiratory illness since 2015.

Last January, the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy (IVHQ) battled a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak for the fourth consecutive year after four residents were confirmed with the disease. There were more than 50 illnesses and 12 deaths during the first outbreak, in 2015.

More than 300 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are reported in Illinois each year, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). There were 332 cases confirmed in 2017, and 318 in 2016. Totals for 2018 have not been released.

Death comes after Governor’s visit
The Manteno death occurred just days after new Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker visited the facility and signed an order for an audit of all Veterans’ Affairs safety and security processes. The order also was issued to ensure full and timely communications with residents and their families, staff and the public.

Pritzker was very critical of previous Governor Bruce Rauner’s handling of the Quincy crisis.

The IDVA notified residents after it was alerted Jan. 8 that one of Mantano’s residents had tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease as part of a safety response plan. Additional actions taken included testing the water and checking residents’ vital signs more often.

Legionnaires’ 411

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.”

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.

Disease symptoms
Legionnaires’ disease is similar to other types of pneumonia, and symptoms can even resemble those of influenza (flu), which is why it often goes under-reported. Early symptoms generally include:

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

Symptoms can then worsen to include:

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

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

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

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

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


Legionnaires’ disease is on the rise in West Virginia.

Just months after an outbreak in Hancock County, Brooke County has experienced a cluster of six cases of Legionnaires’ disease – a serious, pneumonia-like illness – in the past two months.

“It’s certainly something that sent up a red flag because typically we don’t have many cases,” said Mike Bolen, Brooke County Health Department administrator. “At this time, there appears to be no related link to the cases.”

In October, six cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported to the Hancock County Health Department, including an outbreak that infected four employees at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort. There have been “no new cases in Hancock County” since that time, according to Hancock County administrator Jackie Huff.

The western borders of the two neighboring counties are on the Ohio River, and their eastern borders are on the Pennsylvania state border.

There are approximately 20 to 30 annual cases of Legionnaires’ disease in West Virginia.

Outbreak? Cluster? Community-acquired?
The terms “cluster” and “outbreak” 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.

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, such as the occurrence of six cases in Hancock and Brooke counties in such a short period of time.

If two or more cases are reported within days or weeks, rather than months, and occurred in a more limited geographic area – meaning officials can pinpoint a specific area within a city where illnesses occurred, such as at Mountaineer – then the term “outbreak” would be used.

Legionnaires primer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 25,000 annual cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila). Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

Legionnaires’ disease – which is also known as legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early. If that does not occur, however, severe complications can develop, and the disease can become deadly.

Disease symptoms
Legionnaires’ disease is similar to other types of pneumonia, and symptoms can even resemble those of influenza (flu), which is why it often goes under-reported. Early symptoms generally include:

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

Symptoms can then worsen to include:

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

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

High-risk categories
Anyone can become ill from Legionella, but those most susceptible to infection include:

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

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

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

Pontiac fever
A milder type of Legionella illness is Pontiac fever, which produces symptoms – including fever, chills, headaches and muscle pains – that are similar to Legionnaires’ disease. Pontiac fever, however, does not infect the lungs, and symptoms usually clear within two to five days.

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


For the second time this month, city officials in Arnold, Missouri, shut down the City of Arnold Recreation Center indoor pool – this time indefinitely – after learning of a second case of Legionnaires’ disease possibly tied to the facility. The pool was closed on Jan. 17, but the rest of the facility remains open.

The rec center was contacted last week by a Jefferson County parent who said their child had contracted the sometimes-deadly respiratory illness, prompting the latest closure.

“The parent who called said the child had been at the pool recently,” Arnold City administrator Bryan Richison told myleaderpaper.com. “We immediately notified the (Jefferson County Health Department) and (Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services); (they are) doing what they can to track it down and confirm what the person is telling us.”

Earlier this month, a St. Louis County resident was confirmed with Legionella pneumonia and, after investigating, health officials said they believed the illness was linked to the center’s indoor pool, which the patient had visited.

“The city of Arnold is initiating precautionary measures after receiving notification a second person indicated the individual had been at the Arnold Recreation Center within the last few weeks,” according to signage posted at the rec center. “Pursuant to protocols, the Jefferson County Public Health Department (JCHD) is attempting to verify the report.”

The pool was closed voluntarily on Jan. 11 and re-opened Jan. 14 after performing a “chlorine shock,” which involved pouring a large amount of chlorine into the pool to sterilize the water. Water samples were not collected at that time since only one case had been reported.

“The initial investigation that was completed did not find any conditions favorable to the growth of Legionella,” JCHD director Kelley Vollmar said. “But things are always evolving. We will continue to work with the partners to ensure the health and safety of our residents.”

It was not announced whether water testing would be performed after the notification of the second case. Information on the condition of the two people sickened was not released.

The city of Arnold is approximately 18 miles south of St. Louis, along the Illinois border.

According to health officials, there are approximately 150 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Missouri and 300 in Illinois each year.  Last October, two guests of the Marriott St. Louis West hotel were diagnosed with Legionnaires. Results of testing of the hotel’s cooling tank, which is used for the hotel’s showers and drinking water, came back positive for Legionella.

Center visitors should beware

If you are a resident, visitor or employee of the Arnold Recreation Center, located at 1695 Missouri State Road, and you swam in the pool or traveled through the pool area and are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should seek care from your health-care provider out of an abundance of caution.

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

More on Legionnaires

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 25,000 annual cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila). Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

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

(Note: Legionnaires’ disease is also known as legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia. The scientific term for Legionella bacteria is Legionella pneumophila.)

Legionella sources

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

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

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

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

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


New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital officials said they have implemented water restrictions after two cases of Legionnaires’ disease from November and December were potentially linked to the Park Slope hospital.

Water testing at the hospital in December returned positive results for Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, spurring an investigation by the New York State Department of Health.

“It is common to find a small amount of Legionella in the water of many large buildings and hospitals,” according to a statement released by hospital officials. “Most people who were exposed to the bacteria would not become ill.”

Officials for the state health department said they are working with the hospital to prevent additional cases of Legionnaires’ disease.

“The health and safety of our patients and staff is always our primary concern,” a hospital official said. “Out of an abundance of caution and consistent with our safety protocol, we have implemented water restrictions. We work with the state and city departments of health to maintain a clean water supply and have already taken steps to disinfect our water sources.”

Additional information was not released on the patients who contracted Legionnaires’ disease.

Elsewhere in the U.S.:

MISSOURI POOL DISINFECTED AFTER ILLNESS
The indoor pool at a Missouri recreation center has reopened after it was temporarily closed due to fears of Legionella contamination.

The City of Arnold Recreation Center in Jefferson County shuttered the pool Jan. 10 to disinfect it after the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) confirmed a St. Louis County man who had visited the pool multiple times was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. The pool reopened Jan. 14.

“At this point, they (health officials) are not sure where the case of Legionnaires was contracted,” Arnold city administrator Bryan Richison said. “We are one of several places they are inspecting.”

The city-run rec center, located at 1695 Missouri State Road, was not required to close or disinfect the pool under Missouri health codes but elected to do so out of an abundance of caution. Officials performed a “chlorine shock,” which consists of pouring a large amount of chlorine into the pool to sterilize the water.

Richison said the DHSS alerted the Jefferson County Health Department about the pool’s possible tie to the individual’s illness.

Water testing was not required because only one case was reported. However, if a second person connected to the pool is diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, testing would be required, Richison said.

ANOTHER ILLINOIS VETERANS HOME HIT
A resident of the Manteno Veterans Home in Manteno, Illinois, who was being treated at a hospital tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease, according to the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA).

Officials at the IDVA indicate a rapid response was put into place once they were informed of the positive test. IDVA director Stephen Curda directed staff to notify residents, relatives and employees of the illness. “We are taking every precaution necessary to protect our residents, staff, and visitors at our Manteno Home,” Curda was quoted in a statement.

Water remediation began immediately, according to the IDVA, a process that included flushing and heat-treating the home’s potable water systems. The vital signs of patients are being checked every four hours by medical staff, according to ABC-7.

The Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy suffered Legionnaires’ outbreaks for four consecutive years (2015-18). Fourteen people died, and dozens more were sickened.

Legionnaires’ info

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.”

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.

Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for clients. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease at Phoebe Richland Health Care Center in Richlandtown, Pennsylvania, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


The year’s first Legionnaires’ disease outbreak has claimed a life after two patients at a Richlandtown, Pennsylvania, care center were confirmed with the deadly respiratory illness, according to WFMZ-TV.

The two individuals, who came to Phoebe Richland Health Care Center from two area hospitals, were diagnosed on Jan. 2 and Jan. 5. The patient who passed away died due to multiple contributing health factors, according to a statement released by Phoebe Richland officials. The other resident is in stable condition and undergoing treatment.

No information was provided on either patient.

“The health and well-being of our residents and staff are Phoebe’s top priorities,” the Phoebe Richland statement read. “In the last few days, two residents who were recently admitted to Phoebe Richland Health Care Center were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.”

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia — that is, lung inflammation usually caused by infection – according to the Mayo Clinic. The disease is caused by Legionella bacteria, and most people are infected by inhaling the bacteria in the form of microscopic water droplets, usually in the form of mist or vapor.

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

Phoebe Richland is working with the Bucks County Health Department to identify whether the facility is the possible source of the Legionella that infected the residents.

“We have engaged an outside vendor to conduct specialized water testing beyond our annual testing, which is performed in accordance to our water-management policies,” the statement read. “In the event that our campus is determined to be the source of the Legionella bacteria, we are taking measures to locate and eliminate any potential source of Legionella.”

Phoebe Richland is located at 108 S. Main Street in Richlandtown, about 50 miles north of Philadelphia. The facility offers long-term care, short-term rehab, memory support services, and respite care.

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

Seniors at high risk
Anyone can become ill from Legionella, but those most susceptible to infection include:

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

Legionnaires’ info

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 25,000 annual cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila). Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

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

Note: Legionnaires’ disease is also known as legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia.

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

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

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


One of two patients has died after being diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease at a Michigan hospital that tested positive for Legionella bacteria.

Spectrum Health Pennock in Hastings tested several locations around the hospital on Dec. 18 after two patients were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, and test results returned this week were positive for Legionella bacteria, which causes the disease.

The man who passed away was 92 years old; he was diagnosed with Legionnaires in November, treated for the disease, and then discharged to a rehab center, where he died from “chronic aspiration pneumonia.” Dr. J. Daniel Woodall, medical director of Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD), said it’s “not possible to determine if (the patient’s death) was linked to Legionnaires’ disease.”

Hospital officials said they’re unsure if he caught the disease from the hospital’s water supply and whether the disease is what killed him because his case was “very complex,” and he had other health issues.

The other patient sickened by Legionnaires’ disease was discharged from the hospital and has since recovered. They were treated for Legionnaires in September, but it’s also unknown whether their illness was hospital-acquired. Their age and gender were not released.

“We cannot correlate the two cases of Legionnaires’ disease and the bacteria in the water,” Woodall said.

The hospital is implementing several safety precautions, including providing alternative water sources, installing a new water filtration system, and testing additional patients for the disease.

“Patient safety, the safety of our visitors, and the safety of our staff is absolutely the most important thing to us at Spectrum Health,” said Leslie Jurecko, the vice president of quality, safety and experience at Spectrum Health System.

Spectrum Health is working collaboratively with local and state health departments and following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for legionellosis risk management.

More disease info

Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection. If it is not diagnosed early, it can lead to severe complications and even become deadly.

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

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

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

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

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


The University Hospital Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Madison, Wisconsin, has been making headlines since late November, but the UW Health hospital is not the only one in the news.

Spectrum Health Pennock in Hastings, Michigan, tested several locations around the hospital after two patients were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, and test results were positive for Legionella. One patient died.

In addition, an inspection of the water system at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) uncovered Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease.

A spokesperson for New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital said, “The water supply of many large buildings and hospitals often contains small amounts of Legionella bacteria, and most people who are exposed to Legionella will not become ill. If Legionella does cause an infection, it is treatable with antibiotics and does not generally pose a threat to the public.”

As a safety measure, hospital officials said they have put in water restrictions and taken steps to disinfect the water sources. The NYSDOH is investigating with the aid of hospital officials.

Murky situation in Michigan
The patient who died in Michigan was a 92-year-old man diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease in November. He was treated for the disease and discharged to a rehab center, where he died from “chronic aspiration pneumonia,” according to Dr. J. Daniel Woodall, Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) medical director. Woodall said it’s “not possible to determine if (his death) was linked to Legionnaires’ disease.”

Spectrum Health Pennick officials said they’re unsure if the patient caught the disease from the hospital’s water supply and whether the disease is what killed him because his case was “very complex,” and he had other health issues.

The other patient was discharged from the hospital and has since recovered. They were treated for Legionnaires’ disease in September, but it’s also unknown whether their illness was hospital-acquired. Their age and gender were not released.

UW Health outbreak timeline
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) was alerted Nov. 28 by UW Health of confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease among patients admitted to University Hospital since Oct. 31. At that time, UW Health officials attributed the infections to a change in the hospital’s hot-water system. “The flow was altered in the system,” said Nasia Safdar, medical director of infection control for UW Health. “So, instead of being at a consistent high flow, it was altered to be more flexible to be on demand.”

On Nov. 29, UW Health officials announced a fifth case as well as the first fatality. The case count was increased to 11 in early December, and it rose to 14 on Dec. 18, with two more deaths reported. A UW Health statement said the patients who died all had “serious, life-limiting health conditions.”

Additionally, test results confirmed that the Legionella strain in three patients was identical to the strain found in University Hospital’s water system. The other 11 patients did not provide samples for testing.

Legionnaires’ info

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 25,000 annual cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila). Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

Legionnaires’ disease – which is also known as legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early. If that does not occur, however, severe complications can develop, and the disease can become deadly, as evidenced by the UW Health outbreak.

Disease symptoms
Legionnaires’ disease is similar to other types of pneumonia, and symptoms can even resemble those of influenza (flu), which is why it often goes under-reported. Early symptoms generally include:

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

Symptoms can then worsen to include:

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

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

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

High-risk categories
Anyone can become ill from Legionella, but those most susceptible to infection include:

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

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

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

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