Sick from Legionnaires’ disease?
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Elliot Olsen is a nationally prominent Legionnaires lawyer who has regained millions for his clients. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease at the Marriott West in St. Louis, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.
Two people contracted Legionnaires’ disease after staying at the Marriott West in St. Louis, and officials have begun an investigation, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) said in a statement.
The two illnesses were diagnosed in October and November after staying at the Marriott West – located at 660 Maryville Centre Drive – during that same period. No information was released on their conditions.
The DHSS is warning that anyone who lodged or visited the hotel after Oct. 1 could be at risk for developing Legionnaires’ disease, a serious form of pneumonia that is contracted by breathing in Legionella bacteria.
Marriott West: hotel reacts
Hotel officials said they are taking “proactive measures” to ensure the safety of guests and employees. Lodging Hospitality Management, owner of Marriott West, issued this statement:
“The health and well-being of our guests and team members is our top priority. As soon as we were made aware of the situation, we fully cooperated with the Missouri health department, allowing them to test and evaluate all of the areas of the hotel.
“We are being abundantly cautious and have taken measures to follow health department recommendations to maintain a safe environment for everyone.”
Marriott West: test results to come
Health officials said they believe a hotel water source is to blame, although testing has yet to uncover water samples showing the presence of Legionella. Additional results are pending.
“We do not know whether the hotel was the source of the germs that caused the two people to become sick,” the DHSS said in a news release. “The investigation is ongoing.”
Marriott West: symptoms
Officials said the risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease is low, but they are nonetheless advising anyone who developed flu-like symptoms or respiratory distress within two weeks of staying at or visiting the hotel to seek medical attention.
Legionnaires’ disease symptoms are similar to those of other types of pneumonia, and they even can resemble those of flu. Symptoms generally include:
- shortness of breath, also called dyspnea
- muscle pains
- severe headaches
- gastrointestinal symptoms: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, etc.
Although Legionnaires’ disease primarily affects the lungs, it can cause infections elsewhere in the body, including the heart.
“Ask your doctor to test you with both a urine test and a respiratory culture,” the DHSS advised in its statement. “If you test positive, ask your doctor to report your illness to your local or state health department as soon as possible after your diagnosis.”
Marriott West: difficult diagnosis
Legionnaires’ disease is also known as legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia, and it is a severe type of pneumonia (lung infection). If diagnosed early enough, the disease is treatable with antibiotics, but if that does not occur, the infection can lead to severe complications and even become deadly.
An estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur in the U.S. annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Only 20 percent of those cases (5,000) are reported, however, because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.
In addition, 10 percent of illnesses will end in death.
Marriott West: high-risk groups
Anyone can become ill from Legionella, but people who are most susceptible to infection include:
- anyone 50 or older
- smokers, current or former
- anyone with a chronic lung disease or COPD (most commonly, bronchitis or emphysema)
- recipients of organ transplants
- anyone on a specific drug protocol, such as corticosteroids
This list also includes anyone with an immune system weakened by:
- frequent and recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis or skin infections
- organ inflammation and infection
- blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia
- digestive problems, such as cramping, appetite loss, diarrhea, and nausea
- delayed growth and development.
Marriott West: Legionella hosts
Legionella are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets (vapor or mist). The bacteria grow best in warm water, and they are found primarily in built environments.
Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks and clusters have been linked to a number of sources:
- water systems, such as those used in hotels, hospitals, and nursing homes
- large plumbing systems
- hot-water tanks and heaters
- swimming pools, whirlpools, hot tubs
- bathroom showers and faucets
- mist machines, such as those used in the produce sections of grocery stores
- hand-held sprayers
- decorative fountains
- physical-therapy equipment
- cooling towers of air conditioning systems.
Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. You can contact him for a free consultation by filling out the following form and submitting it: