Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
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Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease, and he has regained millions of dollars for them. If you or a family member have contracted Legionnaires’ disease in New Jersey, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.
With the start of the 2018 school year just around the corner for students in Berkeley, NJ, news of a Central Regional Middle School staff member taking ill with Legionnaires’ disease has school officials on high alert, according to jerseyshoreonline.com.
It is unknown where the staff member, who had recently been on vacation, contracted the disease. No additional information was released on the staff member’s condition, age or gender.
“We are doing all tests necessary to make sure the school is safe for all employees and students,” Superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides said. “We are taking every precaution just to be sure.”
A water leak damaged two ceiling tiles at the school, according to Parlapanides, but the area was cleaned up in a few hours, not long enough for Legionella – the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease – to form.
Legionella is most commonly spread through airborne water droplets. Mist or vapor contaminated with the bacteria and breathed into the lungs can infect a person with Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia.
Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person.
What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease – also known as legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is similar to other types of pneumonia, which is an infection of the air sacs in one or both lungs that can produce fluid in the lungs. Symptoms can resemble those of influenza (flu) in the following ways:
- difficulty breathing
- high fever
- muscle aches and pains
- gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Who is most at risk for illness?
Anyone can get Legionnaires’ disease, but people most susceptible to infection include:
- people 50 years of age or older
- smokers, current and former
- heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
- people with chronic lung disease
- people with compromised immune systems
- recipients of organ transplants
- individuals who are on specific drug protocols (corticosteroids, to name one).
How prevalent is the disease?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur each year, but only 5,000 cases are reported because of its nonspecific signs and symptoms.
Ten percent of those who become infected with Legionnaires’ disease will die from the infection.
How does Legionella infect a person?
The bacteria, which grow best in warm water, are found primarily in human-made environments. Outbreaks anc clusters have been linked to a number of sources, such as:
- the cooling towers of air conditioning systems
- large plumbing systems
- water systems such as those used in hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
- showers and faucets
- hot water tanks and heaters
- swimming pools
- hot tubs and whirlpools
- equipment used in physical therapy
- mist machines and hand-held sprayers
- decorative fountains.