Sickened in Gershen Apartments Legionnaires outbreak? Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen is a nationally known Legionnaires lawyer who has regained millions for clients. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at the Alvin E. Gershen Apartments in Hamilton, New Jersey, you might have cause to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.
Health officials in New Jersey are investigating a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at a senior apartment complex for the second time this summer after three illnesses in the past 13 months were confirmed at the Alvin E. Gershen Apartments in Hamilton.
The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) probe is centered on the environmental safety of the senior complex, which is located on Klockner Road.
The outbreak is not the first of this type for New Jersey this year. The Nevada Street Apartments, a senior apartment complex in Newark, was the site of a three-illness outbreak back in May.
Legionnaires’ disease also is no stranger to the Gershen Apartments, which was connected to an outbreak 10 years ago, according to the NJDOH. (The World Health Organization defines an “outbreak” as the “occurrence of cases of disease in excess of what would normally be expected in a defined community, geographical area or season.”)
“There has been a total of three cases of Legionnaires in the last 13 months in residents of this building,” a NJDOH spokesperson informed the Trentonian in an email. “It is not known whether these residents contracted the illness at this building. It is the Department of Health’s standard protocol to initiate an investigation following the identification of two or more confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease associated with the same building within 12 months of each other.”
Gershen Apartments Legionnaires outbreak: issues last year
The first of the three illnesses was confirmed last November, and prompted environmental tests that identified Legionella bacteria in the apartment’s potable (drinking) water system. The most recent illness was diagnosed early this month.
Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, are contracted by inhaling microscopic droplets (vapor or mist). According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the bacteria may be transported from potable water to the air by faucets, showerheads, cooling towers, and nebulizers. People also can contract Legionnaires’ disease by choking or coughing while drinking, which causes water to go down the wrong pipe and into the lungs.
“The Department of Health and Hamilton Health Department have an ongoing investigation at the Gershen apartments,” the NJDOH spokesperson said. “The building has been following public health recommendations related to treatment of their water.”
Gershen Apartments Legionnaires outbreak: warning given
If you are a resident or employee or have visited the Alvin E. Gershen Apartments and are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms, you should visit your health-care provider immediately and inform them you were at an apartment building with a Legionella outbreak. This can help with proper treatment and assist with the investigation.
Gershen Apartments Legionnaires outbreak: symptoms
Legionnaires’ disease generally develops two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella bacteria, and it frequently begins with the following symptoms:
- muscle aches
- fever, which can be 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and chills.
By Day 2 or 3, symptoms can worsen to include:
- coughing, which can produce mucus and/or blood
- shortness of breath, called dyspnea
- chest pains, called pleurisy or pleuritis
- gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
- confusion and other mental changes.
Anyone can contract Legionnaires’ disease, but those at the greatest risk of infection include:
- people 50 years old or older
- smokers, whether current or former
- people with a chronic lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD, most commonly emphysema or bronchitis)
- people with a compromised immune system
Gershen Apartments Legionnaires outbreak: difficult diagnosis
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (scientific name: Legionella pneumophila) occur in the U.S. annually. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of the disease’s nonspecific symptoms.
Legionella bacteria are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets in the form of mist or vapor. The bacteria thrive in warm water, and they can be found primarily in human-made environments, including:
- air-conditioning system cooling towers
- large plumbing systems
- water systems of large buildings (hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, etc.)
- hot-water heaters and tanks
- bathroom showers and faucets
- swimming pools
- whirlpools and hot tubs
- physical-therapy equipment
- mist machines and hand-held sprayers
- decorative fountains.
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