Elliot Olsen has regained millions of dollars for people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. If you or a family member were sickened in this Round Barn Lodge outbreak, please call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.

Round Barn Lodge, a popular Wisconsin motel in Spring Green, has been temporarily closed because of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, according to WKOW 27 TV.

The motel voluntarily ceased operations after the Sauk County Health Department (SCHD) confirmed the pneumonia-like illness in two guests who stayed at the lodge.

While it has yet to be definitively determined that the pair were sickened at the lodge, both contracted their diseases within 10 to 14 days of their stay at the lodge. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the typical incubation period for Legionnaires’ disease is two to 10 days, but can be as long as 16 days.

Legionnaires’ disease is also known as legionellosis or Legionella pneumonia. The most common form of transmission of Legionella is the inhalation of contaminated aerosols produced in conjunction with water sprays, jets, or mists. Infection can also occur by aspiration of contaminated water or ice, particularly in susceptible hospital patients.

Legionellosis is the collective term for the two diseases caused by Legionella bacteria: Legionnaires’ disease (most serious) and Pontiac fever.

Round Barn Lodge outbreak: officials react

“There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our guests and colleagues,” Red Barn Lodge officials wrote in a news release.

Motel officials confirmed that they had written all past guests about the outbreak, including information supplied by the SCHD.

The lodge hired Phigenics, an independent water-management company, to test for Legionella; resolve water-quality problems, if they exist; and implement a safe water program.

Round Barn Lodge also implemented the following precautions:

  • Water was retested by Phigenics.
  • The motel and its banquet hall were closed.
  • All reservations were cancelled.

All staff members were placed on paid leave until the investigation is completed, and the facility has been given a clean bill of health.

Spring Green is approximately 30 miles west of Madison in southwestern Wisconsin on U.S. Hwy. 14. Round Barn Lodge’s address is E4830 U.S. Hwy. 14.

Round Barn Lodge outbreak: symptoms

If you lodged at, are an employee of, or are a recent visitor to the Round Barn Lodge and are feeling flu- or pneumonia-like symptoms, you should seek care from your health-care provider. Symptoms often can be mistaken for the common flu.

Even if you’ve already recovered, and were not diagnosed with legionellosis, informing your physician that you spent time at the motel is recommended. The disease is often overlooked or undiagnosed, leading to the condition being underreported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For the disease to be classified correctly, specific testing and diagnosis must be done from a Legionnaires’ disease standpoint, and those tests are often not ordered. It’s not required for physicians to order Legionella-specific testing when a patient presents with pneumonia.

Initial symptoms include:

  • headaches
  • muscle pains
  • chills
  • fever, which can be 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

By the second or third day, symptoms can worsen to include:

  • cough, which can bring up mucus or blood
  • shortness of breath, also called dyspnea
  • chest pains, also called pleurisy or pleuritis
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • 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. Untreated Legionnaires’ disease usually worsens during the first week, which is why early diagnosis is key to recovery.

Round Barn Lodge outbreak: high-risk groups 

According to the CDC, an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur in the United States every year. Anyone can contract the disease, but those at the greatest risk of infection include:

  • people 50 or older
  • smokers (current or former)
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
  • people with chronic lung disease
  • people with weakened immune systems.

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 produces 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 ability of the heart to maintain adequate blood flow through the body.
  • pericarditis: swelling of the pericardium, which is the primary membrane around the heart. This can also affect the ability of the heart to circulate blood throughout the body.
Round Barn Lodge outbreak: Wisconsin woes 

The Round Barn Lodge is not the only Wisconsin destination that has had to deal with Legionella recently. Hotels and resorts around the state have seen their share of issues with the sometimes-deadly bacteria over the past two years:

  • In August, the Rodeway Inn & Suites in Tomahawk in northern Wisconsin temporarily closed its doors for five days for remediation after a second Legionnaires case was confirmed within 12 months.
  • The SCHD investigated Christmas Mountain Village – a golf and ski resort in the Wisconsin Dell, 45 miles northeast of Spring Green – after three cases of the disease, including one fatality, were reported within 12 months. The first was confirmed in November 2017 and two more in October 2018.
  • The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake in northeastern Wisconsin dealt with a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in 2018 after four guests were sickened with the disease, one in March and three others in August. Two of 72 locations at the resort – a men’s restroom near an indoor pool and a cooling tower – tested positive for elevated levels of Legionella.