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.
Three more lawsuits have been filed against The Sands Resort at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. The hotel was identified by health officials as the likely source of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak this summer, according to Seacoastonline.com.
The outbreak sickened 19, and resulted in the death of one victim. The individuals took ill in an area of Hampton identified as Ashworth Avenue between Island Path and M Street, beginning in early June through September.
The lawsuits were filed in November in Rockingham Superior Court and raised the number of suits faced by The Sands to four since September, all by Massachusetts residents. The suits allege the hotel’s spas and water system carried water infected by Legionella bacteria, causing the plaintiffs to be hospitalized with Legionnaire’s disease after their stays at the resort this summer.
A cluster of Legionnaire’s disease cases was identified by state health officials in August, and 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 the positive test was announced, it was published that nine of the 14 people sickened were guests at The Sands’ property. Those numbers were never updated.
Filing suit were Nicole Murphy of Chicopee, Kathleen Foley of Monson, and Bruce Chester of Gardner. Those three joined a lawsuit filed by Louise M. Pare, also of Gardner, and Celeste M. Billington of Templeton, who filed their lawsuit against The Sands in September.
All lawsuits state that the plaintiffs spent time around The Sands’ spa area and used the showers, faucets and other potable water systems that carried water infected with Legionella bacteria.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hot tubs that are not cleaned and disinfected often enough can become contaminated with Legionella. Individuals are then infected by the bacteria when they breathe in steam or mist from a contaminated 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 in September. He declined to comment on the newly filed lawsuits.
The defendants in the three new lawsuits are listed as:
- The Sands Resort Management Co., Inc.
- Aqua Paradise Pools & Spas
- Sands Hotel Realty Trust trustees Thomas Saab, Edward Saab and Leonard J. Samia.
The lawsuits claim the three parties were negligent in their maintenance and inspection of their facilities, allegedly enabling Legionella bacteria to grow in the water. The lawsuits also allege that contracts between the plaintiffs and The Sands management company, which ensured guests would be safe during their stay, were violated by the presence of the bacteria.
Saab said The Sands was thrown “under the bus” when it was linked so publicly to the outbreak. He said he believes other businesses were likely at fault, as well, given that the senior who died – a man from New York – never stayed at The Sands. The Sands water supply could not have been the only source of Legionella, he alleges.
“This is a community-wide event; it’s not a Sands event,” Saab said.
What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of lung infection. According to the 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 hotels, apartment complexes, hospitals, and nursing homes
- 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).