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 in North Carolina, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.

A Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee, NC, is being investigated by the Jackson County Department of Public Health (JCDPH), the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Public Health and Human Services (PHHS), and the North Carolina Division of Public Health (NC DPH).

Three people who visited the western North Carolina casino between May and November became ill with the serious respiratory illness. No additional information on the individuals who took ill was released.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the event a Legionnaires’ disease “outbreak” because two or more cases associated with the same property occurred in a 12-month period.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, which is located at 777 Casino Drive, is working with a consultant to conduct remediation and testing to ensure that Legionella – the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease – is not present or, if found, promptly eliminated.

Anyone with additional questions can call the JCDPH (828-587-8201) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time) Monday through Friday, or visit 

If you are an employee or have visited the Cherokee Casino Resort since mid-October and are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should seek care from your health-care provider out of an abundance of caution.

Legionnaires information

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe lung infection that people can get by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionella. The disease is similar to other types of pneumonia, and symptoms can even resemble those of flu, which is why it often goes under-reported.Early symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease generally include:

  • severe headaches
  • fever (104 degrees or higher) and chills
  • muscle aches
  • suppressed appetite.

Symptoms, however, can worsen to include:

  • pleuritic chest pain (pain caused by inflamed lungs)
  • dyspnea (difficulty breathing)
  • cough, which can produce blood and mucus
  • gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting (about one-third of Legionnaires cases produce these symptoms)
  • mental agitation and confusion.

A mild form of Legionnaires’ disease — known as Pontiac fever — may produce signs and symptoms including a fever, chills, headaches and muscle pains. Pontiac fever, however, doesn’t infect the lungs, and symptoms usually clear within two to five days.

About 10 percent of people infected with Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) will die from the infection.

High-risk categories
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).

Legionnaires’ disease is also known as legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia. It is treatable with antibiotics, although if it is not diagnosed early, it can lead to severe complications and even can become deadly.

Legionella sources
Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks and clusters have been linked to a number of sources, including:

  • the cooling towers of air conditioning systems
  • water systems, such as those used in hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
  • large plumbing systems
  • hot-water tanks and heaters
  • showers and faucets
  • mist machines and hand-held sprayers
  • swimming pools
  • hot tubs and whirlpools
  • equipment used in physical therapy
  • decorative fountains.