Sick with Legionnaires’ disease?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at the Waco Family YMCA, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.
Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria, which are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets in the form of mist or vapor.
“Exposure to the Legionella bacteria may have occurred at the Waco Family YMCA,” Rodney Martin, president and CEO of the YMCA of Central Texas, was quoted in a notice to visitors.
While the facility remains open to members and guests – after consultation with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District (WMCPHD) – officials closed the whirlpool area, which is adjacent to an indoor pool.
“The Waco Family YMCA will remain open to members, guests and program participants as all other areas of the Y are accessible, including the pool, gym, fitness, group exercise spaces and more,” the organization said. “The restricted area will not affect the operations of the Y or its ability to serve its guests.”
The source of the bacteria has not been identified.
“We have been in contact with both the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District as well as the Center for Disease Control and are following their recommendations,” Martin wrote in an e-mail. “We have also contacted an outside expert to complete testing of the Y’s water.”
Health officials work backward
Kelly Craine, public information officer for the WMCPHD, said once the department was notified of the cases, its staff began “working backward” to discover a common denominator between the patients and pinpoint a possible source of their infection.
“The hot tub has been closed, and it is the only area that’s been closed,” she said. “Because of the mist, you always want to look at the hot tub as a possible suspect.”
YMCA visitors may need to take action
Health district officials said they believe the two patients contracted the Legionella between Feb. 4 and Feb. 21.
If you are a member, visitor or employee of the YMCA, located at 6800 Harvey Road, and you used the whirlpool, swam in the pool or traveled through the whirlpool or pool area this month and are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should seek care from your health-care provider, according to Craine.
Legionnaires’ disease symptoms are similar to those of other types of pneumonia, and they even can resemble those of the flu, including:
- recipients of organ transplants
- individuals who are on specific drug protocols (corticosteroids, to name one)
- heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages.
This list also includes anyone with an immune system weakened by:
- frequent and recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis, or skin infections
- organ inflammation and infection
- blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia
- digestive problems, such as cramping, appetite loss, diarrhea, and nausea
- delayed growth and development.
After Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed, hospitalization is often necessary. In the most severe cases, complications can occur; they include:
- respiratory failure: caused by changes to the lung tissue, or oxygen loss in arteries supplying the lungs.
- septic shock: This can occur when Legionella produce toxins that enter the bloodstream and cause a drop in blood pressure, leading to the loss of adequate blood supply to the organs.
- kidney failure: those same Legionella toxins can damage the kidneys’ ability to eliminate waste from the blood, resulting in kidney failure.
- endocarditis: an infection of the inner lining of the heart that can affect the strength of the organ to maintain adequate blood flow through the body.
- pericarditis: swelling of the pericardium, which is the primary membrane around the heart. Pericarditis can also affect the ability of the heart to circulate blood throughout the body.
Waco has seen outbreaks before
Last July, the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Waco North in Lucy Lakeview was investigated for the second time in less than 12 months when two of its hotel guests were confirmed with Legionnaires. Four cases of the disease were connected to the facility between October 2016 and August 2017.
The Waco Family YMCA and Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Waco North are fewer than 9 miles apart.