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 contracted Legionnaires’ disease at The Sands Resort, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.
Health officials raised the number of individuals sickened in the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Hampton, NH, to 18 as they announced that the investigation into the outbreak is concluding, according to a press release from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Sixteen of the 18 people were hospitalized and included one fatality. The individuals took ill in an area of Hampton identified as Ashworth Avenue between Island Path and M Street between June 10 and August 26.
Three additional cases were identified and added to the count since the hot tubs at The Sands Resort at Hampton Beach and the Harris Sea Ranch Motel were shut down in late August. Both facilities were suspected to be possible sources for the outbreak.
After the hot tubs were shut down, it was learned by WMUR News 9 that neither The Sands nor the Harris Sea Ranch had registered their hot tubs with the state. Registration is required by officials to ensure that public pools and spas comply with health and safety standards.
Officials said they believe the current health risk to the community to be “low.”
Sands positive for Legionella
Test results at The Sands returned elevated levels of Legionella – the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease – in the hot tub, water heater, outdoor shower hose, and the sinks and shower heads in three guest rooms. At that time that was announced, it was published that nine of the 14 people sickened were guests at the property; those numbers have not been updated.
Water samples taken from The Sands hot tub were found to be growing the same strain of Legionella bacteria that was isolated from one of the patients diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, indicating that the hot tub was a source, the DHHS said.
The Sands water system was remediated in early September, and new samples have been collected for testing by an independent laboratory to ensure that Legionella has been eliminated from the facility.
Harris Sea Ranch tests negative
Environmental and water testing results from the Harris Sea Ranch were negative for Legionella, but officials denoted those results did not rule out the facility as a potential source. Very high levels of chlorination found in the hot tub at the time of sampling may have resulted in the absence of Legionella from the samples.
“It just means it’s not there anymore,” Jake Leon, DHHS director of communications, told seacoastonline.com. “It’s not cleared per say. It’s just that it didn’t come back as a positive test.”
Sands to remove hot tub
Tom Saab, owner of The Sands Resort, said the hot tub has been closed permanently and will be removed so the space can be used for something else. “It’s going to be ripped out of there,” he told seacoastonline.com. “It’s not worth the aggravation to open it.”
A lawsuit has been filed in Rockingham Superior Court by two Massachusetts women who claim they contracted Legionnaires’ disease while using the hot but during their stay at The Sands.
Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of 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 yearly in the U.S. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of its nonspecific signs and symptoms.
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.
Where do Legionella live?
Outbreaks have been linked to a number of sources:
- water systems, such as those used in apartment complexes, hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
- the cooling towers of air conditioning systems
- large plumbing systems
- hot-water tanks and heaters
- showers and faucets
- swimming pools
- hot tubs and whirlpools
- equipment used in physical therapy
- mist machines and hand-held sprayers
- decorative fountains.
What are the symptoms?
Legionnaires’ disease develops anywhere from two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella. Symptoms frequently begin with the following:
- severe headache
- muscle aches and pains
- high fever, which can be 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
By day two or three, other symptoms develop, including:
- coughing, which often brings up mucus and sometimes blood
- difficulty breathing, also known as dyspnea
- chest pains
- gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea
- 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.
Who is most at 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).