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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’ at Harrah’s Laughlin Hotel & Casino, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation, or complete the following:

Harrah’s Laughlin Hotel & Casino is being investigated by the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) after it learned of two cases of Legionnaires’ disease at the property since November of last year.

The two guests who were sickened visited the hotel separately, one in November 2017 and the other in March 2018. Harrah’s officials were alerted to the outbreak by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which confirmed the second case in June.

Information was not provided on the status, age or gender of the two victims.

Harrah’s Laughlin: Rio outbreak

The CDC classifies this as an “outbreak” because two or more cases are “associated with the same possible source during a 12-month period.”

That makes this the second outbreak at a Caesars Entertainment property within the past year. There were seven confirmed and 29 suspected cases of Legionnaires’ disease at the Rio in Las Vegas last year in an investigation that started in June.

Harrah's Laughlin investigated in Legionnaires' outbreak

Harrah’s Laughlin Hotel & Casino is being investigated after two cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported at the property since November of last year.

Harrah’s Laughlin: tests positive

Officials have tested Harrah’s Laughlin for Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, and those tests came back positive.

Hotel officials began aggressive remediation efforts to deal with Legionella, including hyper-chlorination (disinfecting) of the water system and proactive water-management efforts.

“We will continue to monitor our water quality in accordance with the SNHD’s guidance to ensure the safety of the water system and our guests,” Caesars Entertainment wrote in a statement.

The SNHD is working with the property to notify current and past guests of the outbreak. Guests who stayed at Harrah’s Laughlin property dating back to Oct. 15, 2017, and who experienced symptoms (see list below) up to 14 days after their stay can report their illness using a survey posted on the SNHD website.

If guests (or employees) of the property developed symptoms within 14 days of their visit but did not receive medical care, they should see their health-care provider to be correctly diagnosed.

Harrah’s Laughlin: disease info

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

An estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) happen each year, according to the CDC. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of its nonspecific signs and symptoms.

About 10 percent of those sickened with Legionnaires’ disease will die from the infection.

Symptoms
Legionnaires’ disease symptoms are similar to those of pneumonia and even flu, which is why so many cases go unreported. Early symptoms can include:

  • high fever, potentially 104 degrees or higher
  • chills
  • severe headaches
  • lack of appetite
  • muscle pains.

After the first few days, symptoms can worsen to include:

  • chest pain when breathing (pleuritic chest pain, which occurs because the lungs are inflamed)
  • difficulty breathing
  • confusion and agitation
  • coughing, which can produce mucus and blood
  • gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.

The incubation period – that is, the amount of time between contracting Legionella and developing symptoms – is usually 2 to 10 days after exposure, but it can be as much as 16 days.

(Note: There is also a mild form of Legionnaires’ disease called Pontiac fever, which can produce fever, chills, headaches, and muscle pains. However, Pontiac fever doesn’t infect the lungs, and its symptoms usually clear within two to five days.)

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

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

  • cooling towers in air conditioning systems
  • water systems in large facilities (hotels, nursing homes, hospitals)
  • large plumbing systems
  • hot water heaters and tanks
  • bathroom faucets and showers
  • swimming pools
  • hot tubs and whirlpools
  • physical-therapy equipment
  • mist machines, like those in the produce sections of grocery stores
  • decorative fountains.

People also can contract Legionella by aspirating contaminated drinking water.  That is, a person chokes or coughs while drinking, which can cause the water to go down the wrong pipe and into the lungs.

It is also possible to contract Legionella from home plumbing systems. The vast majority of outbreaks have occurred in large buildings, however, because complex systems enable bacteria to grow and spread more easily.

High-risk categories
Anyone can contract Legionnaires’ disease, but those at the highest risk of infection include:

  • people 50 or older
  • smokers, both current and former
  • heavy drinkers of alcohol
  • people with chronic lung disease (hronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema, for example)
  • people with compromised immune systems (those suffering from conditions such as diabetes, cancer, kidney failure, or infected with HIV)
  • organ-transplant recipients (kidney, heart, etc.)
  • anyone following a specific drug protocol (corticosteroids, to name one).