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Elliot Olsen is a prominent Legionnaires lawyer in the United States; he has regained millions for his clients. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires in Illinois, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Please give Elliot a call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation, or complete the following:
After being identified as a possible source of a Legionnaires’ disease cluster that sickened three people in Illinois’ McHenry and Lake counties, Johnsburg Walmart officials said the Supercenter would replace its sprinkler system.
The Johnsburg Walmart is located at 3801 Running Brook Farm Boulevard.
Casey Stahell, Walmart’s senior manager of national media relations, said in a statement: “We take the situation seriously, and out of an abundance of caution are replacing our sprinkler system, which is specifically designed with nozzle sizes and no reservoirs to minimize and prevent exposure to this problem.”
The Legionella bacteria that was detected at the Johnsburg Walmart wasn’t the same strain that caused the illnesses, Stahell said the company learned from the Illinois Department of Public Health. That, however, doesn’t rule out the location as a possible source.
Johnsburg Walmart: 2nd cluster in area
After Legionella grow and multiply, water containing the bacteria can spread in droplets small enough to inhale, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People can become infected with Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever (a mild form of Legionnaires) when they breathe in small droplets of water containing Legionella.
This is the second cluster to hit the area this year. Twelve people were sickened in McHenry County in June.
In that incident, the McHenry County Department of Health identified an area within a 1.5-mile radius of the intersection of Walkup Road and Route 175 in Crystal Lake as the source for six illnesses. No cause for the other six illnesses was identified.
Johnsburg Walmart: improper temps
Warm, stagnant water provides ideal conditions for the growth of Legionella bacteria, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). At temperatures between 68 degrees and 122 degrees Fahrenheit, Legionella multiply, and temperatures of 90 degrees to 105 degrees provide ideal growing conditions.
According to OSHA, water sources that provide optimal conditions for the growth of bacteria include:
- cooling towers, evaporative condensers, and fluid coolers that use evaporation to reject heat; these include many industrial processes that use water to remove excess heat
- domestic hot-water systems (including bathrooms, showers, and drinking fountains) with water heaters that operate below 140 degrees and deliver water to taps below 122 degrees
- humidifiers and decorative fountains that create a water spray and use water at temperatures favorable to growth
- spas and whirlpools, such as those in hotel pool areas
- dental water lines, which are frequently maintained at temperatures above 68 degrees and sometimes as warm as 98.6 degrees for patient comfort
- other sources, including stagnant water in fire sprinkler systems and warm water for eyewashes and safety showers.
Johnsburg Walmart: more on Legionnaires
Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection. According to the CDC, an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur in the United States yearly. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.
After Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed, hospitalization is often necessary. 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 greatest risk of infection include:
- people 50 or older
- smokers (current or former)
- heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
- people with chronic lung disease
- people with weakened immune systems.
Legionnaires’ disease usually develops two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella. It frequently begins with the following signs and symptoms:
- muscle pains
- chills and fever, which can be 104 degrees or higher.
By the second or third day, other symptoms develop, such as:
- cough, which can bring up mucus and sometimes blood
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- confusion and other mental changes.
Although Legionnaires’ disease primarily affects the lungs, it occasionally can cause infections in wounds and in other parts of the body, including the heart.