What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease is also known as Legionnaires’ pneumonia or Legionella pneumonia. It is a severe form of pneumonia, a respiratory illness that causes the air sacs in the lungs to fill with water or pus.
The disease is contracted by inhaling water droplets – in the form of mist or vapor – that contain the Legionella bacteria (or Legionella pneumophila). The bacteria are found primarily in human-made, warm-water environments such as industrial cooling systems, air conditioners, whirlpool spas and hot tubs.
After Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed, hospitalization is often required. In the most severe cases, complications can include respiratory failure, kidney failure, and septic shock.
Those at the greatest risk of being affected include:
- people 50 years old or older
- smokers, current or former
- people with suppressed immune systems
- people with chronic lung disease
What is a Legionnaires’ outbreak?
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. An outbreak may occur in a restricted geographical area, or may extend over several countries. It may last for a few days or weeks, or for several years.”
What can produce an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease?
There are a wide range of sources for public outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease:
- cooling towers in air conditioning systems
- decorative fountains
- mist machines in the produce sections of grocery stores
- hot tubs and whirlpools at fitness centers and on cruise ships
- hot-water tanks and heaters
- large plumbing systems
- showers and faucets
- swimming pools
- equipment used in physical therapy
- water systems such as those used in hotels, hospitals, and nursing homes.
What is the process of filing a lawsuit?
To prove a Legionnaires’ disease claim, several things are necessary:
A confirmed diagnosis of Legionnaires’ disease
To confirm a diagnosis of Legionnaires’ disease, your doctor will draw blood and have it tested. The doctor also may have a chest X-ray taken to determine the severity of the infection. Additionally, an epidemiological professional can test blood or urine for Legionella antigens. Antigens are the body’s immune response to the presence of a foreign toxin or bacteria. A doctor may also test phlegm for Legionella bacteria.
The determination of a source
After a diagnosis of Legionnaires’ disease has been made, the next step is discovering the source of the contamination. When two or more people are diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, health officials will investigate to determine the source of the Legionella bacteria contamination. Subsequently, officials will further investigate to determine if that water source caused the illnesses.
Speaking with Elliot Olsen early in the diagnosis can expedite the process. Elliot will know the proper steps to take and the proper questions to ask, and he will be able to provide guidance for you and your loved ones, seeking the proper compensation for your family’s pain and distress, including having medical bills paid or lost income recovered.