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Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease, and he has regained millions of dollars for them. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ after staying at the Fairfield Inn in North Waco, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation, or complete the following:

For the second time in less than 12 months, the Fairfield Inn in North Waco, Texas, is under investigation for a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak after two guests were confirmed with the illness.

The out-of-state visitors were diagnosed after they had returned to their homes. The pair had stayed separately in early July at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Waco North (4257 North Interstate 35 in Lacy Lakeview).

No information was made available on the condition of the patients, or whether they needed to be hospitalized.

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District (WMCPHD) issued a “control order” to the hotel and is requiring hotel administrators to notify all guests and staff of the risk of Legionnaires’ disease. The hotel also will be required to allow the WMCPHD to conduct an environmental investigation of the property.

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia, or lung infection, typically contracted through the inhalation of mist or vapor from water contaminated with Legionella bacteria.

“Although a direct source for the disease has not been determined at this time, it is important that all guests are notified of any potential risk while staying at the Fairfield Inn and Suites,” health officials said.

“… (Legionella) could be anywhere,” Kelly Craine, public information officer for the WMCPHD, told KWTX News 10. “So you’re looking at all of the water sources: air conditioning, plumbing, hot water heaters, pool, hot tub. Every area that has water involved in it. Our investigators will be checking that, swabbing that, looking for a definitive source.”

Fairfield Inn in North Waco investigated in Legionnaires' outbreak

The Fairfield Inn in North Waco, Texas, is under investigation for a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak after two guests were confirmed with the illness.

Fairfield Inn: second investigation in a year

The Fairfield Inn was investigated last year after four cases were connected to the hotel between October 2016 and August 2017. The WMCPHD’s investigation was assisted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

At that time, Fairfield Inn officials were required to implement three actions to comply with the control order:

  • Hire a qualified consultant to aid in the development and implementation of a water maintenance plan.
  • Maintain water temperature at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Notify guest of the risks of Legionnaires’ disease.

Thirty-four water samples of the different sources of possible contamination were taken during last year’s comprehensive testing. The results, however, came back negative for Legionella.

Fairfield Inn: Legionnaires’ info

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection. The CDC estimates about 25,000 cases of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) in the U.S. on a yearly basis. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms (see below).

Legionella bacteria are found primarily in human-made environments, including:

  • cooling towers of air-conditioning system
  • large plumbing systems
  • water systems of large buildings, such as hotels, hospitals, and nursing homes
  • hot-water tanks and heaters
  • showers and faucets
  • swimming pools
  • hot tubs and whirlpools, like those in hotel pool areas or on cruise ships
  • equipment used in physical therapy
  • hand-held sprayers and mist machines, like those used in the produce sections of grocery stores
  • decorative fountains.

Warm, stagnant water provides ideal conditions for growth, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Temperatures between 68 degrees and 122 degrees Fahrenheit help Legionella multiply, and  temps between 90 degrees and 105 degrees are ideal for the bacteria’s growth.

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

  • headaches
  • muscle aches
  • chills and fever, which can be 104 or higher.

By the second or third day, other signs and symptoms develop, such as:

  • coughing, which can bring up mucus and often blood
  • difficulty breathing, also known as dyspnea
  • chest pains
  • gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, etc.)
  • confusion and other mental difficulties.

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

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

Anyone can get the disease, but those at the most significant risk of infection include:

  • people 50 years of age or older
  • smokers, both current and former
  • heavy drinkers of alcohol
  • people with chronic lung disease
  • people with suppressed immune systems.