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Two residents at Stella Maris, an independent-living apartment complex in suburban Baltimore, were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, according to officials with the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Water restrictions were instituted at St. Elizabeth Hall, which has a separate water system on the Stella Maris campus, after residents and health officials were notified of the outbreak. Campus officials said they will continue to test the water, cooling and heating systems, as well as having them treated and monitored for Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

No information was provided on the two residents who were sickened.

Stella Maris is a nonprofit, long-term care facility in Timonium, Maryland, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, as an affiliate of Mercy Health Services. The facility offers inpatient and home hospice care, long-term and dementia care, home health and personal care, counseling and bereavement services, medical care, rehabilitation, pastoral care, and a senior day center.

Results pending
The HHS collected water samples from the complex, and results of those tests are pending, according to an email to the Baltimore Sun from HHS public information officer Elyn Garrett-Jones.

A mild form of Legionnaires’ disease — known as Pontiac fever — can 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.

Seniors at high 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).

More disease info

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.

Where do Legionella live?
Outbreaks have been linked to a number of sources:

  • large plumbing systems
  • showers and faucets
  • hot-water tanks and heaters
  • 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 hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
  • the cooling towers of air conditioning systems.

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 in New York City, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


For the second time this year, health officials have identified the Sugar Hill Project as the source for a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in upper Manhattan in which 32 people have been sickened, and one victim has died.

The Harlem high-rise also was the source for an outbreak over the summer in which 27 people became ill. One victim also died during that outbreak.

Officials confirmed this is the first time that a single cooling tower has been linked to two separate Legionnaires incidents in the city.

“Sampling conducted at the start of the investigation revealed that Legionella bacteria had returned quickly despite a comprehensive remediation, suggesting that there was potentially something unique in this cooling tower system.,” said Dr. Oxiris Barbot, acting health commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).

Sugar Hill Project shut down its cooling system on Oct. 18, and officials said it will remain out of commission until “management demonstrates that it has remediated it and can operate the tower safely,” Barbot said in a DOHMH statement.

Upon receiving approval to recommission the cooling system, building management will be required to provide weekly samples to the city.

Sugar Hill Project, which opened in 2015, is a 13-story, 191,500-square-foot, mixed-use development located in Manhattan’s historic Sugar Hill district of Harlem. It has 124 affordable housing units for low-income families, including 25 residences for the formerly homeless. The building also features the 17,600-square foot Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling on the ground floor, as well as an 11,600-square-foot, early-childhood education center on the second floor.

Sugar Hill Project is located at 898 St. Nicholas Avenue at West 155th Street.

Tower design at fault?
City officials will investigate the design of the tower, convene a panel of water-system engineers to advise building owners on designing safer towers, and introduce stricter cooling-tower regulations, due to the anomaly of the second outbreak.

Mark Levine, New York City Council member and chairperson of the Council’s Committee on Health, said the DOHMH needs to do more to prevent “repeat contamination.”

“From the moment we learned of a second Legionnaires cluster at the same location in upper Manhattan, I began asking pressing questions: Are there defects in cooling-tower equipment which make them vulnerable to repeat contamination?” Levine was quoted in a statement. “How long does intense monitoring last after a tower is found to be contaminated once?

“Five weeks — and one oversight hearing — after Lower Washington Heights was hit with a second deadly cluster, we still don’t have adequate answers to these questions. DOHMH needs to move immediately to put in place better protocols to prevent this kind of repeat contamination.”

What is 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 yearly in the U.S. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of its nonspecific signs and symptoms.

One in 10 patients infected with Legionnaires’ will die from the disease.

Legionella bacteria 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.

People at increased risk
Most people exposed to Legionella do not get sick, but people 50 years old and older – especially those who smoke and have chronic lung conditions – are at a higher risk.

Other people more susceptible to infection include:

  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
  • people with compromised immune systems
  • recipients of organ transplants
  • individuals who are on specific drug protocols (corticosteroids, to name one).

After Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed, hospitalization is often necessary. In the most severe Legionnaires cases, complications can include respiratory failure, kidney failure, septic shock, or even death.

Pontiac fever
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.

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 got sick from Legionnaires in New York City, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) announced that the year’s second Legionnaires’ disease outbreak to strike Washington Heights had increased to 32 cases, with one death. The DOHMH also said the investigation was “nearing its conclusion.”

The number sickened in the outbreak has quadrupled since Oct. 5, when acting health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot initially confirmed eight people with the bacterial infection. The source of the Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires, has not been identified.

The first outbreak – the investigation into which concluded in mid-August – sickened 27 individuals and also included one fatality. The source of that outbreak was identified as a cooling tower at the Sugar Hill Project (898 St. Nicholas Avenue), a high-rise building on St. Nicholas Avenue near 155th Street. Twenty-five of the 27 patients were hospitalized. A strain of Legionella bacteria was common between six victims and a cooling tower at Sugar Hill Project.

Because of the second outbreak’s proximity to Sugar Hill Project, the DOHMH ordered that building’s owners to re-clean and re-disinfect the cooling system. That process reportedly was completed the day the health department announced the latest outbreak.

According to the DOHMH’s original statement in October, the department sampled 20 cooling towers within a mile radius to identify the cause for the latest outbreak. Preliminary test results at 11 buildings prompted officials to order the building owners to remediate their cooling towers “based on preliminary results and out of an abundance of caution,” Barbot said.

Stay vigilant
Despite the health department’s statement that the investigation is reaching its end, residents and people employed in the area should remain cautious because the source has not been identified. In addition, an infected person might not have developed symptoms immediately because the disease’s incubation period can be up to two weeks.

While Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious, it can be treated with common antibiotics if caught early. Anyone with flu-like symptoms – such as cough, fever or difficulty breathing – should seek medical attention to be safe.

Watch for symptoms
Because symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease are so similar to those of other forms of pneumonia (lung infection) or influenza (flu), many cases go unreported. Statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that only about 20 percent (5,000) of the estimated 25,000 yearly cases in the United States are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

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

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.

More on Legionnaires

Legionnaires’ disease is a bacterial infection that 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 bacteria 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 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.

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).

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 in Illinois, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


After being named as a possible source for a Legionnaires’ disease cluster that sickened three people in Illinois’ McHenry and Lake counties, Walmart officials announced that the Johnsburg SuperCenter would replace its sprinkler system.

“We take the situation seriously, and out of an abundance of caution are replacing our sprinkler system, which is specifically designed with nozzle sizes and no reservoirs to minimize and prevent exposure to this problem,” said Casey Stahell, Walmart’s senior manager of national media relations, in a statement. (The Johnsburg Walmart is located at 3801 Running Brook Farm Boulevard.)

The Legionella bacteria that was detected at the store wasn’t the same strain that caused the illnesses, Stahell learned from the Illinois Department of Public Health, but that doesn’t necessarily rule out the location as a possible source.

After Legionella bacteria grow and multiply in a building’s water system, water containing Legionella then can spread in droplets small enough to inhale, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People can become infected with Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever, a mild form of Legionnaires, when they breathe in small droplets of water in the air that contain Legionella.

This is the second cluster to hit the area this year after 12 people were sickened in McHenry County in June. The McHenry County Department of Health identified an area within a 1.5-mile radius of the intersection of Walkup Road and Route 175 in Crystal Lake as the source for six of the 12 illnesses. No cause for the remaining six illnesses was identified.

Around the United States:
Illinois nursing home bacteria-free

The water supply at Good Samaritan Society – Prophets Riverview nursing home has been Legionella-free for a month, which is finally some positive news for the 50-year-old nursing home after it was hit with 20 cases of respiratory illness between mid-May and July, according to Saukvalley.com.

“We were cleared of the bacteria and were able to turn the water back on Sept. 21,” Prophets Riverview administrator Benjamin Ornelas said.

Along with the 20 illnesses, nine of the home’s more than three dozen residents died over the same period, but it could not be determined whether any of the deaths were connected to the respiratory outbreak, according to Whiteside County Health Department administrator Beth Fiorini.

Eleven of the 14 water samples collected tested positive for low levels of Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, but none of the home’s sick residents tested positive for the disease.

Prophets Riverview water system was flushed by Nalco, an environmental management company hired by Good Samaritan, with water heated to 160 to 170 degrees, then treated with high levels of chlorine to kill any remaining bacteria, based on recommendations of the health department and Nalco.

“All of our tests came back negative after we did the hyper-chlorination treatment,” Ornelas said. “We’ve been following the recommendations, such as flushing the water system, lower water temperatures and keeping our ice machines clean.”

Legionella thrive in 80- to 120-degree temperatures, and now “we’re keeping our water at 75 degrees,” Ornelas said.

Legionella bacteria are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets (generally, mist or vapor). The bacteria, which thrive in warm water, are found primarily in human-made environments.

Warm, stagnant water provides ideal conditions for growth, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). At temperatures between 68 degrees and 122 degrees Fahrenheit, the organism can multiply. Temperatures of 90 degrees to 105 degrees are ideal for growth.

Water sources that provide optimal conditions for the growth of infectious bacteria, according to OSHA, include:

  • cooling towers, evaporative condensers, and fluid coolers that use evaporation to reject heat; these include many industrial processes that use water to remove excess heat
  • domestic hot-water systems (including bathrooms, showers, and drinking fountains) with water heaters that operate below 140 degrees and deliver water to taps below 122 degrees
  • humidifiers and decorative fountains that create a water spray and use water at temperatures favorable to growth
  • spas and whirlpools, such as those in hotel pool areas
  • dental water lines, which are frequently maintained at temperatures above 68 degrees and sometimes as warm as 98.6 degrees for patient comfort
  • other sources, including stagnant water in fire sprinkler systems and warm water for eyewashes and safety showers.

Michigan EPA employee ill

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – the federal agency that has a mission is to protect human health and the environment – alerted employees at the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory (NVFEL) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, about a confirmed case of Legionnaires’ disease in its staff, according to the Federal News Network. Despite the diagnosis, officials advised employees to continue to report to work as they await test results.

Leila Cook, the associate director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ) at the NVFEL, informed staff in an email that a facility employee was diagnosed with Legionella pneumonia.

“Although the source of the exposure is not known, it is possible that the exposure occurred at the NVFEL,” Cook wrote in the e-mail. “Environmental sampling has been conducted at the facility, however, results will not be available for several weeks.”

No information was released on the condition, gender or age of the employee infected.

Legionella in Morris Co. jail water

Legionella bacteria has been detected in the water system at New Jersey’s Morris County jail, making it the third county-owned building to test positive since July, according to county officials. The other locations were a health-care facility and a homeless shelter.

No one at the correctional facility, which houses 200 inmates, has been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, according to county administrator John Bonanni. Testing was negative for Legionella at the county juvenile detention center and juvenile shelter.

The Southeast Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority supplies water to all of the buildings tested.

Jail officials said they will install new filtration systems in shower heads and remove aerators from some faucets to try and remediate the Legionella issue.

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 in New York City, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


In 2016, New York City passed Local Law 77, which is the country’s most stringent oversight of cooling towers. Despite the requirements, NYC continues to see a rise in Legionnaires’ disease cases, many of which are due to failures of cooling tower owners to comply with the most protective laws ever passed to prevent Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

The problem, however, does not lay only with non-compliant cooling tower owners. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) must share some of the responsibility.

The city invested more than $7 million to increase staff for oversight in 2016 and expected to triple the team by 2019. The city currently has 70 inspectors conducting more than 5,000 inspections per year. They’re armed with a list of 30 potential violations and the power to levy fines from $500 to $2,000 per violation.

With the increase in inspections, health department inspectors wrote 27,000 tower-related summonses in 2017 to try and make the city safer, which would seem to be a step in the right direction.

However, more than half (15,700) of those cases were challenged by respondents, who took their claims to a hearing at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). That resulted in the dismissal of about 14,000 cases, according to an analysis by WNYC radio and the Gothamist website.

The reason that nearly 90 percent of the violations were tossed at administrative trials? Mistakes by inspectors.

Those mistakes included regularly neglecting to list relevant dates, citing the wrong section of the law, and making “material alterations” to documents submitted to OATH.

The sloppy citations stemmed in part from confusion by inspectors about the new laws covering the towers. The inspectors appear to be unclear about the particulars of the legislation and how to accurately identify violations.

“The inspection regime that we put in place does give New York City a leg up over most other cities,” said City Council Member Mark Levine, chair of the Committee on Public Health. “But to see how many cases are being dismissed is really worrisome, especially since so many of the dismissals seem to be for technical reasons.”

The vast majority of cooling tower cases dismissed last year were thrown out because “no violation” was found, the DOHMH presented insufficient evidence, or there was a “defective notice of violation” issued by the inspector, according to the analysis by Gothamist and WNYC.

“[T]he inspectors seemed novice and inexpert,” an OATH hearing officer summarized after a case where an inspector failed to supply “evidence to support the allegation” when claiming a building manager failed to present them with weekly cooling tower maintenance records.

Health inspectors also often struggled with a task that would seem to be paramount to the job, which was to physically and legally differentiate between cooling towers and water towers (the former helps cool buildings; the latter holds drinking water).

The health department’s enforcement method “really needs to be fixed,” Levine said, “so that New Yorkers have the confidence that cooling towers are being inspected in line with the highest standards.”

Some towers still not registered
To compound matters, despite regulations that every cooling tower must be registered and inspected regularly by the city, the city still hasn’t located all the towers – two years after Local Law 77 was instituted.

When asked at a City Council hearing last month how many cooling towers aren’t registered, a health department spokesperson told the committee: “There are certainly some,” but added they the city is “closing in” on finding them all.

Levine’s district experienced two separate large outbreaks in Upper Manhattan this year alone. “In both clusters in my district, you identified unregistered towers just in that little neighborhood, so there must be many around the city,” Levine said.

In the first incident, during the summer, 27 people were sickened, and one of them died. The source for that outbreak was identified as a cooling tower at the Sugar Hill Project in Harlem. In the second incident, which occurred in October, 29 people were infected, and there was another fatality. The source for that has not been found.

Ideal home for Legionella
Cooling towers are a significant source of Legionnaires’ disease because they provide two things Legionella bacteria need to thrive: a place to grow, and a way to enter people’s respiratory systems, according to Live Science. The enormous tanks of warm water in these towers provide an ideal environment for the bacteria to thrive. These cooling towers also circulate air, and when water from the tanks evaporates, it forms droplets or mist that spread the disease through the air.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presented at the CDC’s 66th annual Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference in 2016 revealed that 164 of 196 cooling towers (84 percent) tested around the country were positive for Legionella DNA, including 79 that had live Legionella in their systems.

Legionella can grow in many parts of a building’s water system that is continually wet, and certain devices can spread contaminated water droplets. Some examples of other devices where Legionella can grow and spread through aerosolization include:

  • hot- and cold-water storage tanks
  • water heaters
  • shower heads and hoses
  • electronic and manual faucets
  • ice machines
  • hot tubs
  • medical equipment (such as CPAP machines, hydrotherapy equipment, bronchoscopes, etc.)
  • faucet flow restrictors
  • water filters
  • pipes, valves, and fittings
  • aerators
  • centrally installed misters, atomizers, air washers, and humidifiers
  • non-stream aerosol-generating humidifiers
  • water hammer arrestors
  • expansion tanks
  • infrequently used equipment including eyewash stations
  • decorative fountains.

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 in West Virginia, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


The Hancock County Health Department (HCHD) confirmed four cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the county after news broke of one illness connected to Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort. Now, the search is on for the source of the Legionella bacteria that is sickening people.

The confirmation comes days after Mountaineer – located in New Cumberland – announced it was suspending live racing at its thoroughbred racetrack until Nov. 7 to “make some improvements.”

The Daily Racing Form (DRF), however, reported that the suspension was due to the diagnosis of at least one case of Legionnaires’ disease among track employees. That information was obtained by the DRF from “officials with knowledge of the situation.”

“It’s an ongoing investigation,” said Jackie Huff, HCHD health administrator. She also said there’s “no evidence” linking the outbreak to the track.

“We have not identified the source,” Huff said. “We have four cases in Hancock County, but I can’t say any of them are at Mountaineer.”

Federal privacy regulations prohibit the HCHD from discussing the cases or revealing the identities of those sickened, but the health department is interviewing the patients to determine commonalities, such as where they’ve been, where they live, and where they work.

Huff confirmed that Mountaineer is one of several locations being investigated, but did not identify any others.

Jana Tetrault, executive director of the Mountaineer Park Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (MPHBPA), said the association hadn’t received any information other than an Oct. 27 statement announcing a “safety review” of the clubhouse and grandstand areas from Mountaineer’s general manager.

“As far as the horsemen are concerned, we’re training on the track,” Tetrault said. “Normal training hours are in effect.”

Mountaineer, whose race meet is scheduled to end Nov. 28, will lose eight racing days because of the suspension, but the MPHBPA is hoping those days will be rescheduled, which would require the approval of the West Virginia Racing Commission.

“Everyone’s concerned about the safety of the people involved,” Tetrault said.

Visited or work at Mountaineer and feeling ill?
If you are an employee at Mountaineer Park, visited the backside, clubhouse, grandstand, or jockeys’ area and are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should see your health-care provider out of an abundance of caution.

Legionnaires’ disease is similar to other types of pneumonia. Symptoms can even resemble those of the flu, which is why it often goes under-reported. 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 — 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.

Legionnaires info

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.

Where do Legionella live?
Outbreaks have been linked to a number of sources:

  • large plumbing systems
  • showers and faucets
  • hot-water tanks and heaters
  • 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 hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
  • the cooling towers of air conditioning systems.

Who is most at 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).

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 in West Virginia, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


An employee at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in New Cumberland, West Virginia, was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, prompting officials to suspend live racing at the thoroughbred racetrack for at least the next two weeks, according to The Daily Racing Form (DRF).

More cases are possible. The Hancock County Health Department (HCHD) has received multiple calls from employees of the track about a health problem, according to Jackie L. Huff, HCHD administrator. Mountaineer officials, however, have yet to respond to inquiries from the department.

“We’re receiving calls from family members and people who work at the track about concerns there,” Huff said. “We are investigating.”

Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria. Legionella are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets, usually in the form of mist or vapor.

Track vague about closure
Track officials distributed an announcement that live racing would be suspended until Nov. 7 to make “some improvements at our racetrack,” but did not release what improvements are scheduled.

Officials at Mountaineer and its parent company, El Dorado Resorts, did not respond to the DRF’s phone and email messages.

The track’s grandstand and clubhouse were closed Monday, according to Jana Tetrault, executive director of the Mountaineer Park Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (MPHBPA). The track is maintaining the same training hours, and horsemen are free to use the training track and backside (i.e. stable area).

“There are crews over there working and cleaning,” Tetrault said. “We’ve asked them to keep us informed about what the situation is.”

She also noted that horsemen had not been notified about the reason behind the suspension.

Joe Moore, executive director of the West Virginia Racing Commission (WVRC), said he has been informed about the suspension and heard rumors about the health problems, but those rumors had not been confirmed.

The notice distributed by the track noted that the casino and hotel would remain open during the suspension of live racing. Tetrault stated the track would attempt to add racing dates to the calendar to make up for the lost days, which would need to be approved by the WVRC.

Mountaineer offers 123 live racing days; 122 of those are scheduled for Sunday through Wednesday evenings through Nov. 28. The track’s only Saturday afternoon of racing was held Aug. 4, featuring a seven-race stakes schedule including the track’s richest race: the $500,000 West Virginia Derby.

Recent inspection results
The HCHD website publishes food-establishment inspection results in an effort to increase awareness and improve services for Hancock County. Included on the website were results for inspection of the Mountaineer Park jockey’s hot tub room, which included the following three non-critical violations Oct. 16 (inspections take place a minimum of twice a year):

  • Men’s steam room: ceiling vent cover missing; light shield dirty & taped to ceiling; missing wall tiles; walls moldy; wooden seats splitting and splintered. (Wood is not impermeable nor easily cleanable.)
  • Men’s locker room: mold on ceilings of some showers; one broken ceiling tile.
  • Men’s sauna: baseboard fell off wall.

A follow-up visit for the same day at noon was listed and denoted: “No chlorine at time of first visit. Returned at noon to check. Hot tub re-opened.” No re-inspection was required, according to the inspection report.

Mold in the steam room and locker room also were observed during visits Oct. 17, 2017, and April 24, 2018, but no re-inspection was required after either report.

Herbie Rivera, a regional manager who represents Mountaineer riders on behalf of The Jockeys’ Guild, told ThoroughbredDailyNews.com that he had lodged a complaint this year with track management regarding the condition of the jockeys’ facilities.

“A couple months ago, we were having trouble with the hot box and the sauna,” Rivera said. “I went in there, and I was concerned with cleaning issues and some kind of mold building up in there. It was nasty. I’m not an expert, but you can tell that it was dirty and that it was not maintained with the consistency that it is supposed to be. We brought it to management’s attention and we complained about it. They said they were going to take care of it.”

Visited or work at Mountaineer and feeling ill?
If you are an employee at Mountaineer Park, visited the backside, clubhouse, grandstand, or jockeys’ area and are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should see your health-care provider out of an abundance of caution. Those symptoms include:

  • chills
  • fever (potentially 104 degrees or higher)
  • headaches
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle aches.

After the first few days, symptoms can worsen to include:

  • chest pain when breathing (called pleuritic chest pain, due to inflamed lungs)
  • confusion and agitation
  • a cough, which may bring up mucus and blood
  • diarrhea, nausea and vomiting (about one-third of all cases result in gastrointestinal problems)
  • shortness of breath.

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

Pontiac fever
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.

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 in Ohio, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


The Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) released a 20-page report on the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Parma, Ohio, concluding that the cooling system at St. Columbkille Parish was the likely source of the Legionella bacteria that killed one and sickened 10 others this summer.

“The investigation indicates that the design, operation, and location of the current cooling system at St. Columbkille church provided a significant risk and a very likely mode of transmission and pathway for exposure for the Legionnaires’ disease cases,” according to the report.

The CCBH’s investigation covered a period from June 1 to July 31. Investigators identified 31 cases of Legionnaires’ disease that occurred within a 10-mile radius of the church. They successfully contacted and questioned 25 of those sickened, and 11 reported attending St. Columbkille during their incubation period.

Outbreak affected most susceptible
All 11 sickened – eight females and three males – were parishioners at the church. Their illness onset dates ranged from June 4 to July 10, and their ages ranged from 74 to 93 years old; the only fatality was a 93-year-old woman.

Anyone can become ill from Legionella, although the majority of healthy people exposed to the bacteria do not. Those at 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. It was not reported how many of the 11 required hospitalization in this outbreak.

In the most severe Legionnaires cases, complications can include respiratory failure, kidney failure, septic shock, or even death.

All signs point to cooling tower
The cooling tower – located on the west side of the building, close to walkways where the public enters and leaves the building – was considered a “significant public health threat,” based on the fact that it put parishioners in position to breath in aerosols it produced. The church staff confirmed that the air cooling system was turned on only for church services.

Environmental samples collected from the cooling tower were negative for Legionella, but the only commonality with all 11 victims is that they had visited the church. Non-viable (or dead cells) of Legionella were found in samples collected from the church’s downstairs drinking fountain, but it’s not considered a possible source for the illnesses since only one of the 11 reported drinking from the fountain.

The CCBH, in consultation with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommended that the current cooling tower not be operated again unless it is relocated or replaced with a non-aerosol-generating cooling system.

Common bacteria sources
Legionella bacteria are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets in the form of mist or vapor. The bacteria, which thrive in warm water, are found primarily in human-made environments, such as:

  • air-conditioning system cooling towers
  • large plumbing systems
  • water systems of large buildings (hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, etc.)
  • 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.

Church complies
According to a statement released by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, the steps taken by the St. Columbkille Parish to ensure compliance with the Board of Health’s recommendations include:

  • The church building air conditioning system was immediately shut off on or about July 19 on the recommendation of the CCBH, and short and long-term potential air conditioning solutions were evaluated.
  • A short-term solution has been implemented, and the air conditioning is now safely operating with the approval of the Board of Health and the EPA.
  • The parish retained engineering consultants to conduct a thorough review of the church air conditioning system, and plans are being made to remove the (non-operational) cooling tower and to install an air-cooled system in an appropriate location as a long-term solution.
  • The parish is working to develop an ASHRAE 188-compliant Legionella water management plan for all water sources in the parish facilities.

CDC: About 25,000 cases annually

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 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.

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

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

By the second or third day, other signs and 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.

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 — may produce signs and symptoms including a fever, chills, headache and muscle aches. Pontiac fever doesn’t infect your lungs, and symptoms usually clear within two to five days.

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 in Illinois, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that it is investigating two Legionnaires’ disease clusters, one in Chicago and the other in McHenry and Lake counties. This is the second cluster of the year in McHenry County.

“The two recently identified clusters of Legionnaires’ disease are not connected,” IDPH director Nirav D. Shah, M.D. said in a news release. “IDPH is continuing to investigate possible sources, identify other individuals who may have been exposed, and recommend remediation and prevention measures.”

Three residents from McHenry and Lake counties in the northeast corner of the state on the Illinois-Wisconsin border have been confirmed with the severe respiratory illness. The Walmart Supercenter in Johnsburg, which is located in McHenry County, has been identified as a possible source or “one common potential exposure” for Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires, according to the IDPH.

In Chicago’s near South Side neighborhood, two residents at the Warren Barr South Loop transitional rehabilitation center were diagnosed with the sometimes-deadly bacterial infection.

A timeline for the clusters was not released, nor was any information on the patients.

Walmart shuts down water sprayers
“The Walmart location has taken action, including turning off the produce water sprayers,” according to a news release from the company. “Health officials will continue to investigate any other potential sources and identify other cases of Legionnaires’ disease.”

Legionella 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 can grow in many parts of a building’s water system that is continually wet, and certain devices can spread contaminated water droplets. Some examples of devices where Legionella can grow and spread through aerosolization or aspiration – when water accidentally goes into the lungs while drinking – include:

  • centrally installed misters (like the produce sprayers at Walmart), atomizers, air washers, and humidifiers
  • electronic and manual faucets
  • ice machines
  • water heaters
  • hot- and cold-water storage tanks
  • shower heads and hoses
  • cooling towers
  • hot tubs
  • medical equipment (such as CPAP machines, hydrotherapy equipment, bronchoscopes, etc.)
  • faucet flow restrictors
  • water filters
  • pipes, valves, and fittings
  • aerators
  • non-stream aerosol-generating humidifiers
  • water hammer arrestors
  • expansion tanks
  • infrequently used equipment including eyewash stations
  • decorative fountains.
Two residents at Chicago’s Warren Barr South Loop transitional rehabilitation center were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.

Remediation efforts underway
“The Warren Barr nursing home has taken numerous steps, including revising its water-management plan, increased environmental sampling, and heightened clinical surveillance,” the IDPH said of Warren Barr South Loop.

Facility officials said they have notified residents, staff and the families involved about the incidents. They also said they were following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols for ongoing surveillance, mitigation, and remediation and have retained experts to conduct environmental testing.

One of the services offered at the facility, which is located at 1725 South Wabash Avenue, is a pulmonary care unit that specializes in complex lung disease and other chronic progressive respiratory problems.

Nothing new for McHenry County or Warren Barr
Over the summer, 12 people were sickened with Legionnaires between June 7 and July 1 in McHenry County. The McHenry County Department of Health identified an area within a 1.5-mile radius of the intersection of Walkup Road and Route 175 in Crystal Lake as the source for six of the 12 illnesses. No cause for the remaining six illnesses was identified.

In July 2015, a resident at Warren Barr Gold Coast died from Legionnaires’ disease. The Gold Coast rehab center is located approximately 4 miles from the South Loop facility. A source was never found for the Legionella that caused that individual’s death.

More than 300 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are reported in Illinois each year, according to the IDPH. There were 332 cases confirmed in 2017, and 318 in 2016.

Legionnaires 411

What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of lung infection. It 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.

An estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur yearly in the U.S. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of its nonspecific signs and symptoms.

Who is most at 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).

What are the symptoms?
Legionnaires’ disease symptoms are similar to those of other types of pneumonia, and they can even resemble those of influenza (flu). Those symptoms include:

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

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’ disease in Hawaii, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.


A patient at Kaiser Permanente’s Moanalua Medical Center (MMC) was confirmed with Legionnaires’ disease, the first reported case of the disease in Hawaii since an outbreak in June at another Honolulu hospital, The Queen’s Medical Center. In that outbreak, four people were sickened, and one victim died.

The MMC patient, whose age and gender was not released, has recovered and is expected to be discharged soon.

The incident was reported to the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH), and the illness was determined to have originated within the hospital, according to DOH public information officer Janice Okubo. The DOH is working with MMC officials on follow-up measures.

“Our staff is confident that there is no risk to the public,” Okubo told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

“It’s unclear where this infection may have come from, but we’ve already begun an intensive investigation and are taking extra precautions to protect our members and staff from the possibility of infection,” according to a statement released by hospital officials. “In an initial review, we see no indication of other cases having occurred at our medical center and will continue to work closely with the Department of Health. Our patients’ safety and well-being are our highest priority.”

All four patients infected in the June outbreak were older than 50. Two of the illnesses were determined to be hospital-acquired illnesses; the other two were community-acquired illnesses.

Popular tourist spot
Honolulu is on the island of Oahu, which is the third-largest of the 140 islands that make up Hawaii (tourists visit only the six largest islands: Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, and Lanai). Oahu is home to Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head and the Polynesian Cultural Center, which are among the most popular tourist destinations in the state.

Legionnaires’ disease cases in Hawaii increased each of the previous two years, from 12 in 2016 to 14 in 2017. Before that, nine cases were reported in both 2013 and 2014 and seven in 2015.

Before the June outbreak, the most recent Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Hawaii occurred in June 2016, when two confirmed cases and a third suspected case forced the temporary closure of the WorldMark Kapaa Shore Resort in Kapaa, Kauai.

Legionnaires’ info

Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of lung infection. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur yearly in the U.S. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of its nonspecific signs and symptoms.

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

Legionella 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.

Where do Legionella live?
Outbreaks have been linked to a number of sources:

  • large plumbing systems
  • showers and faucets
  • hot-water tanks and heaters
  • 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 hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
  • the cooling towers of air conditioning systems.

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

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

Who is most at 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).