Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for clients harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member got sick in this Schaumburg AmericInn outbreak, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.

Illinois health officials have linked an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease to the AmericInn by Wyndham Hotel in Schaumburg, about 30 miles northwest of the Chicago Loop.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) conducted an environmental investigation of the AmericInn (1300 East Higgins Road), and traced both illnesses back to it. No information was released on either victim.

“Both confirmed cases reported use of water in their guest rooms, the hot tub, and pool during hotel stays in July and August 2019,” according to an IDPH news release.

Hotel officials voluntarily shuttered the pool and hot tub areas until the investigation is complete.

“As the epidemiological and environmental investigation of this Legionnaires’ disease cluster continues, it is important to release this information to ensure the guests are aware and seek treatment if they become symptomatic,” IDPH director Ngozi Ezike said.

Schaumburg AmericInn: guests warned

Hotel officials said they are reaching out to all guests who lodged there from June 13 to August 16 (last Thursday). Guests are being instructed to contact the CCDPH if they exhibit symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease or suffer from respiratory symptoms.

Legionnaires’ disease usually develops two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella bacteria. It frequently begins with the following symptoms:

  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • fever, which can be 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

By the second or third day, other symptoms develop, including:

  • cough, which can bring up mucus and sometimes blood
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • confusion and other mental changes.

Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious – that is, it cannot be passed from person to person. The condition is treatable with antibiotics (medicines that kill bacteria in the body) when diagnosed early enough, although if that does not occur, it can lead to complications.

Schaumburg AmericInn: disease complications

Although the disease primarily affects the lungs, it occasionally can cause infections in wounds and other parts of the body, including the heart. Hospitalization is almost always necessary after the diagnosis of the disease.

In the most severe cases, complications can develop, such as:

  • 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.
  • endocarditis: An infection of the inner lining of the heart that can affect its ability to maintain adequate blood flow through the body.
  • pericarditis: swelling of the pericardium, which is the primary membrane around the heart. This also can affect the ability of the heart to circulate blood throughout the body.
Schaumburg AmericInn: high-risk groups

Anyone can contract Legionnaires’ disease, but those at the most significant risk of infection include:

  • people 50 or older
  • smokers (current or former)
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
  • people with chronic lung disease, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, most commonly emphysema or bronchitis)
  • people with weakened immune systems.
Schaumburg AmericInn: about Legionella

Legionnaires’ disease occurs when Legionella bacteria are inhaled in the form of microscopic water droplets, such as vapor or mist. Legionella thrive in warm water and are found primarily in human-made environments, such as:

  • water systems of large buildings (hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.)
  • air-conditioning system cooling towers
  • large plumbing systems
  • hot-water heaters and tanks
  • bathroom showers and faucets
  • swimming pools
  • whirlpools and hot tubs
  • physical-therapy equipment
  • mist machines and hand-held sprayers
  • decorative fountains.
Schaumburg AmericInn: Outbreak? Cluster?

The terms “outbreak” and “cluster” are used when multiple cases are reported in or around the same proximity and within a designated period. The term “community-acquired” is used when there are no commonalities; these kinds of cases are the most common.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would classify the Schaumburg illnesses as an “outbreak” because two or more cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported within weeks of each other and occurred in a more limited geographic area – meaning officials were able to identify the AmericInn as a possible source, despite the fact that Illinois health officials referred to it as a “cluster.”

If two or more illnesses occurred in the same general vicinity within a period of three to 12 months, the term “cluster” would be used.

Schaumburg AmericInn: no stranger to Illinois

The state of Illinois has an active relationship with Legionnaires’ disease, reporting 510 cases last year, and 242 confirmed so far in 2019. At the end of July, Rush Oak Park in suburban Chicago became the fourth hospital in the area to experience an outbreak in the past four months. The others:

  • In April, two illnesses were confirmed at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center.
  • In May, two cases were confirmed at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
  • In June, four cases were confirmed at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Hospital patients were the victims in nine of the 10 cases; one employee at Advocate Christ Medical Center also was infected.