Elliot OlsenFree consultation:

Elliot Olsen has more than 20 years’ experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease, and he has regained millions of dollars in compensation for them. If you or a family member has contracted Legionnaires’ disease and believe negligence is involved, please call him at 612-337-6126, or complete the following:

    Karenise Westbrook of Flint, MI, succumbed to Legionnaires’ disease in late December, making her the 13th victim in the deadly outbreak caused by the Flint water crisis.

    In 2015, the Flint water crisis produced a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in which 12 people died and nearly 90 took ill. Westbrook, 52, died of the same Legionella bacteria strain as Robert Skidmore, who died in December 2015.

    Marc Edwards, the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech

    Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech professor who helped uncover the crisis in 2015, said Westbrook’s case needs to be investigated. “Legionnaires’ disease doesn’t just sit in a person’s body,” Edwards said. “Westbrook had to have come in contact with the disease in recent months.”

    The incubation period, which is the amount of time between breathing in bacteria and developing symptoms, is usually 2 to 10 days but can be as much as 16 days.

    Skidmore died after contracting Legionnaires’ while a patient at McLaren Flint, a regional hospital serving Genesee County. Westbrook wasn’t a patient at the hospital, but she worked at a nearby assisted living facility.

    Westbrook has been named as the third victim in a litigation case against government officials.

    What is Legionnaires’ disease? 

    Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection. It is also known as Legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to the Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur each year. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

    Ten percent of people who contract Legionnaires’ disease will die from the infection.

    How do you catch Legionnaires’? 

    Legionella bacteria are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets (mist or vapor). The bacteria grow best in warm water, and they are primarily found in human-made environments.

    Outbreaks have been linked to a variety of sources, such as:

    • large plumbing and water systems, such as those used in hotels, hospitals, and nursing homes
    • cooling towers in air conditioning systems
    • hot water tanks and heaters
    • showers and faucets
    • swimming pools
    • hot tubs and whirlpools
    • equipment used in physical therapy
    • mist machines and sink sprayers
    • decorative fountains.