Again in the news are more reports of the dangers of Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially life-threatening form of atypical pneumonia caused by bacteria from the genus Legionella. Most of the reported cases are from Legionella Pneumophia. The bacteria can develop in or from air conditioning units/cooling towers, water systems, hot tubs, and other areas suitable for the growth and spread (aerosolizing) of the harmful bacteria. Symptoms can occur within a short period of time and the typical incubation period is 2-10 days, possibly longer. The young and the elderly or immune-compromised public are most at risk.
Typical symptoms include fevers, chills, cough, along with muscle aches, headaches, tiredness, loss of appetite, loss of coordination, and vomiting. Some confusion and impaired cognition or neurological symptoms can also exist. There are medical tests that can detect and diagnose Legionnaires’ disease and subsequent reporting and investigations become critical for public safety. Chicago was the course of a major outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease a few years ago – prompting the closure of and investigation into a hotel’s water systems.
RINGSMUTHWUORI PLLC has handled Legionnaires’ cases with highly successful confidential settlements after litigation. Prompt awareness of and confirmation of Legionnaires is crucial so that health officials can confirm and remedy a dangerous environmental condition and for better treatment awareness. Only recently have new standards and codes been incorporated to help prevent the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. In our experience, the failures of building owners/maintenance and the lack of having qualified or trained personnel contributes to the creation of environments suitable for the creation, production, and spread of the harmful bacteria. For your safety, we strongly encourage you to ask about what sanitation systems are in place before using public pools, hot tubs, or cooling towers.