Legionnaires Disease

Our catastrophic injury attorneys are prepared to assist you in seeking compensation if negligent acts cause you to be injured as a result of Legionnaires’ disease or if a family member dies as a result of the Legionella bacteria.  Call 1-800-590-4116 to schedule a free initial legal consultation and review of the medical file in the case.

Legionella is a Gram-negative bacteria that causes legionellis, a group of illnesses including a severe form of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease. Legionella is found in freshwater but isn’t transmitted without heat, stasis and aerosolization. These conditions for an outbreak are found in cooling towers, whirlpool spas and potable drinking water systems.

Legionnaires’ disease generally develops within two weeks of exposure.  Early symptoms include fever, chills, muscle pain and headaches.  Later symptoms include shortness of breath, a cough, chest pain, gastrointestinal problems and mental changes such as confusion.  Life-threatening cases typically involve respiratory failure because the lungs are no longer able to get oxygen or remove carbon dioxide, septic shock or acute kidney failure.  Early treatment for those at high risk of Legionnaires’ is crucial.  At risk are the elderly (individuals 50 years or older), smokers, and those with a weakened immune system or chronic lung disease.  The estimates are that each year about 8,000 to 18,000 cases involve hospitalization due to severe pneumonia.  Up to 30 percent of the cases of the illness are fatal.

Common Hot Spots For Legionnella

Outbreaks of the disease have resulted from a number of sources, including air conditioning cooling towers, swimming pools, hot tubs, grocery store mist systems and health care water systems.  If these water sources are tested, cleaned and disinfected, then the Legionella bacteria will not flourish and infect exposed persons.  Theories of negligence for owners and maintenance organizations include improper water temperature, poor water flow, failure to flush the system, and improper chlorination.

Outbreaks have happened across the country.  In 1976, a Philadelphia hotel incident killed 29 people and acquired its name.  Allegheny County, which is home to Pittsburgh, reports approximately 100 cases a year, and New York City has had an outbreak in the South Bronx.

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