Sick with Legionnaires’?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease; he currently represents both victims of this year’s Water Oak retirement-community outbreak in Florida. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease at Four Seasons Palm Springs, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation, or complete the following:
The two victims, who were sickened in January, both reported using the community pool at the Four Seasons Palm Springs, which is a gated, 55-plus active-retirement community.
The CDC was notified of the illnesses this week by public health, and subsequently ordered the facility to close the pool and spa area, a CDC representative said.
People 50 years of age or older are at a higher risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease, which is why the CDC is reacting “out of an abundance of caution.” Other groups that are more susceptible to infection from Legionella – the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease – include:
- smokers, both current and former
- heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
- people with chronic lung disease
- people with suppressed immune systems
- recipients of organ transplants
- people on specific drug protocols (for example, corticosteroids).
A certified lab will take water samples under the oversight of the CDC. Test results can take up to two weeks to be returned.
Four Seasons Palm Springs: unfortunate timing
The pool and spa are expected to be shuttered until lab results are received. For residents of Four Seasons Palm Springs, the closure of the pool couldn’t have come at a worse time – daily high temperatures in the Palm Springs area are forecast for 100 degrees or higher for at least the next 10 days.
“It’s interesting timing, and questionable about how much they needed to do it,” Robyn Meltzer, a resident of the community, told KESQ-TV of Palm Springs.
Said John Kady, another resident of the community: “We got an email saying they had to close down the pool due to some inspection issue, and then we just got another email with more info about something about the Legionnaires’ disease.”
Management of the retirement community said accommodations have been arranged for residents to use pool amenities at ARRIVE, a nearby hotel in Palm Springs.
Four Seasons Palm Springs: Legionnaires’ info
The CDC reports an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) annually in the United States. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.
Additionally, 10 percent of those who become infected will die.
Legionella are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets, generally in the form of mist or vapor. The bacteria grow best in warm water, and are found primarily in human-made environments.
Legionnaires’ disease symptoms
Legionnaires’ disease, which is also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia, is similar to other types of pneumonia, an infection of the air sacs in one or both lungs that can produce fluid in the lungs.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease can resemble flu-like symptoms, such as:
- difficulty breathing
- high fever
- muscle aches and pains
- gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease have been linked to a number of sources, such as:
- swimming pools
- hot tubs
- physical-therapy equipment
- bathroom showers and faucets
- mist machines and hand-held sprayers
- hot water tanks and heaters
- cooling towers of air conditioning systems
- large plumbing systems
- water systems like those used in hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
- decorative fountains.
Legionella also can be contracted when a person “aspirates” contaminated drinking water. That is, the person chokes or coughs while drinking, which can cause the water to go down the wrong pipe and into the lungs. Contracting Legionella that way, however, is a very rare occurrence.
(From wikipedia: “In epidemiology, an outbreak is a sudden increase in occurrences of a disease in a particular time and place. It may affect a small and localized group or impact upon thousands of people across an entire continent. Two linked cases of a rare infectious disease may be sufficient to constitute an outbreak.”)