Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
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Legionnaires lawyer Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease at the Marriott St. Louis West, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.

Two people were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after staying at the Marriott St. Louis West, and health officials have launched an investigation, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). The Marriott St. Louis West is located at 660 Maryville Centre Drive.

The two people – who are not associated with one another – were diagnosed in October and November after staying at the hotel during the same period. No information was released on their conditions.

The DHSS warns that individuals who lodged or visited the hotel after Oct. 1 could be at risk for contracting Legionnaires’ disease, a serious form of pneumonia that is contracted by breathing in Legionella bacteria.

Officials believe a water source at the hotel is to blame. Testing, however, has yet to uncover any water samples showing the presence of Legionella. Additional test results are pending.

“We do not know whether the hotel was the source of the germs that caused the two people to become sick,” the DHSS wrote in a news release. “The investigation is ongoing.”

Advice for hotel visitors
The risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease is low, but officials advise anyone who developed flu-like symptoms or respiratory distress within two weeks of staying at or visiting the hotel to seek medical attention right away.

Legionnaires’ disease is similar to other types of pneumonia. Symptoms can even resemble those of flu, which is why Legionnaires’ disease often goes under-reported. Those symptoms include:

  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • headaches
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Although Legionnaires’ disease primarily affects the lungs, it occasionally can cause infections in wounds and other parts of the body, including the heart.

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

“Ask your doctor to test you with both a urine test and a respiratory culture,” the DHSS advised in its release. “If you test positive, ask your doctor to report your illness to your local or state health department as soon as possible after your diagnosis.”

Hotel officials react
Marriott St. Louis West officials are taking “proactive measures” to ensure the safety of their guests and employees. Lodging Hospitality Management issued the following statement:

“The health and well-being of our guests and team members is our top priority. As soon as we were made aware of the situation, we fully cooperated with the Missouri health department, allowing them to test and evaluate all of the areas of the hotel. We are being abundantly cautious and have taken measures to follow health department recommendations to maintain a safe environment for everyone.”

More on Legionnaires’ disease

Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection. The bacterial infection is treatable with antibiotics, although if it is not diagnosed early, it can lead to severe complications and even become deadly. It is not contagious; that is, it cannot be passed from person to person.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur in the United States on a yearly basis. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

Ten percent of people who become infected with Legionnaires will die from the infection.

Legionella, which is the bacteria that causes Legionnaires, 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.

Legionella hosts
Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks have been linked to a number of sources:

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

People at increased 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).