Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease, and he has regained millions of dollars for them. If you or a family member have contracted Legionnaires’ disease in Rhode Island, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.
Two residents at Saint Elizabeth Manor in Bristol, Rhode Island, have been infected with Legionnaires’ disease, according to WPRI 12 News. No further information was available on the conditions, ages or genders of the two residents.
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is investigating the outbreak.
The facility has been placed on water restrictions and will be installing point-of-use filters on all sinks and shower heads to prevent the spread of infection, according to RIDOH public information officer Joseph Wendelken.
WPRI received a tip that faucets inside the building were “taped up” and employees were urging residents not to drink the water.
Legionnaires’ disease is a lung infection that spreads through drinking water, according to Wendelken, and there is an increased risk of infection for the elderly and those with weakened immune systems or underlying lung conditions. “People can get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in small droplets of water in the air that contain the bacteria,” Wendelken said.
Residents, employees, and visitors to Saint Elizabeth Manor who have recently suffered from or are currently exhibiting pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms (see below) should seek immediate medical attention from their primary health-care provider.
Saint Elizabeth Manor is a skilled nursing and rehab center in East Bay with 133 beds, providing long-term care, short-term rehabilitative care, specialized care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and hospice care.
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 might produce fluid in the lungs. Symptoms can resemble flu-like symptoms in the following forms:
- 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?
Legionella bacteria are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets, usually in the form of mist or vapor. The bacteria, which grow best in warm water, are found primarily in human-made environments.
Outbreaks have been linked to a number of sources, 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.