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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 a Honolulu hospital, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation, or complete the following:

A patient at Moanalua Medical Center (MMC) was confirmed with Legionnaires’ disease, the second time this year that Legionnaires has been reported at a Honolulu hospital. In June, four people were sickened – and one of them died – at The Queen’s Medical Center (QMC).

An MMC spokesperson said the patient has recovered and is expected to be discharged soon. No other information was provided.

The illness was reported to the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and was determined to have originated at the hospital, according to Janice Okubo, public information officer for the DOH.

Okubo said the DOH is working with MMC officials on follow-up measures. “Our staff is confident that there is no risk to the public,” she told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

MMC officials said in a statement: “It’s unclear where this infection may have come from, but we’ve already begun an intensive investigation and are taking extra precautions to protect our members and staff from the possibility of infection. In an initial review, we see no indication of other cases having occurred at our medical center and will continue to work closely with the Department of Health. Our patients’ safety and well-being are our highest priority.”

Second Honolulu hospital dealing with Legionnaires

A patient at Kaiser Permanente’s Moanalua Medical Center was confirmed with Legionnaires’ disease, the second time this year that Legionnaires has been reported at a Honolulu hospital. In June, four people were sickened, and one victim died, at The Queen’s Medical Center.

Honolulu hospital: seniors affected

All four patients sickened at the QMC in June were over the age of 50. Two of the illnesses were deemed hospital-acquired illnesses; the other two were community-acquired illnesses.

At that time, the DOH said that six of the eight confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Oahu in 2018 were residents of the island.

Legionnaires’ disease cases across the state increased each of the previous two years, from 12 in 2016 to 14 in 2017. Nine cases were reported in both 2013 and 2014 and seven in 2015.

Before that June outbreak, the most recent outbreak in Hawaii occurred in June 2016, when two confirmed cases and a third suspected case forced the temporary closure of the WorldMark Kapaa Shore Resort in Kapaa, Kauai.

Residents or visitors to the MMC – or the city of Honolulu in general – and are exhibiting pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms should seek immediate medical attention from their health-care provider.

Honolulu hospital: island a tourist hot spot

Oahu is the third-largest of the 140 islands that make up Hawaii. (Tourists visit only the six largest islands: Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, and Lanai.) It is home to such popular tourist destinations as the city of Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head and the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Honolulu hospital: Legionnaires info

Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory illness caused by Legionella bacteria that can result in death. It is also called legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are 25,000 annual cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) in the United States. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

According to the CDC, about 10 percent of patients infected with Legionnaires will die from the disease.

Disease symptoms
Legionnaires’ disease symptoms are similar to those of other types of pneumonia, and they can even resemble symptoms of influenza (flu), which is why the disease often goes under-reported.

Symptoms include:

  • difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
  • coughing
  • high fever
  • headaches
  • muscle pains
  • gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, etc.).

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

Anyone can become ill from Legionella, but those most susceptible to infection include:

  • people 50 years old or older
  • smokers, either current or former
  • heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
  • people with chronic lung disease or COPD (most commonly emphysema or bronchitis)
  • people with a compromised immune system
  • recipients of organ transplants
  • people on a specific drug protocol, such as corticosteroids.

Legionella sources
Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks and clusters have been linked to a number of sources, including:

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