Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
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Attorney 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 contracted Legionnaires’ disease in Hampton, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) announced the addition of one more case of Legionnaires’ disease in Hampton, raising the total to 15 people sickened in the outbreak.
Also, it was learned that hot tubs at The Sands Resort at Hampton Beach and the Harris Sea Ranch Motel – shut down as a precaution during the investigation – were not registered with the state, according to WMUR News 9. Registration is required by officials to ensure that public pools and spas comply with health and safety standards.
Officials announced last weekend that preliminary environmental testing at The Sands uncovered elevated levels of Legionella bacteria in the property’s hot tub, water heater, and outdoor shower hose, as well as the sinks and shower heads in three guest rooms. Nine of the 15 people sickened were guests at The Sands.
The DHHS ordered The Sands to begin immediate remediation and notification efforts. The Sands has retained an environmental consultant, who is already on the job, to clean the property’s water system in the hopes that it will eliminate Legionella.
The DHHS’s latest press release stated it will “provide additional updates on remediation efforts at The Sands Resort, the number of confirmed cases, and additional lab test results as more information becomes available.”
Results from testing at other locations are expected later this week, according to DHHS communications director Jake Leon.
Of the 15 cases, 13 of the patients were hospitalized, and one senior died. The majority of the illnesses occurred within a half-mile-plus stretch of Ashworth Avenue, between Island Path and M Street in Hampton Beach, which is a popular tourist destination and the busiest beach community in the state.
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 is Legionella contracted?
The bacteria, which grow best in warm water, are found primarily in human-made environments. Outbreaks and 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.
How serious is the disease?
The severity of Legionnaires’ disease is illustrated in a recent Epidemiology & Infection study from the University of Minnesota. Based on data from the CDC and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), “approximately 9 percent of legionellosis cases, caused by waterborne Legionella bacteria, are fatal, and 40 percent require intensive care.”