Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease, and he has regained millions of dollars in compensation. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ and believe negligence played a role, please call (612) 337-6126, or complete the following:
Minneapolis attorney Elliot Olsen has been retained by the second victim of the Water Oak Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Florida.
Dennis Nedza – a 69-year-old resident of Waterford, WI, who spends the winter months at Water Oak Country Club, a 55-plus retirement community in Lady Lake – first started feeling ill about April 1. He was hospitalized April 12, and was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease a couple of days later.
Nedza, who was discharged from the hospital on April 17, lost 30 pounds during his illness. He has regained 10 pounds since then but is still experiencing shortness of breath and fatigue.
Water Oak Legionnaires’ disease outbreak: Two victims
The Florida Department of Health in Lake County confirmed the two Legionnaires’ disease cases at Water Oak in late April. Testing confirmed the existence of Legionella – the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease – in the club’s hot tub, which Nedza said he used on a daily basis.
Nedza joins a 61-year-old woman from the Chicago area in retaining Olsen’s services in separate lawsuits against Water Oak Country Club. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Olsen she became ill after visiting her brother at Water Oak in late March and using the hot tub at least five times.
The Chicago-area woman started feeling sick March 27. She said she figured she had flu as she and her husband drove back to their Chicago-area home on the 28th and 29th. On April 2, her husband took her to the E.R. at Palos Hospital in suburban Palos Heights. She was hospitalized for the next 11 days.
Water Oak Legionnaires’ disease outbreak: Olsen confident
Olsen, one of the country’s leading Legionnaires’ lawyers, said he is confident both clients have strong cases.
“Mr. Nedza lost a lot of weight while he was ill, and he is still suffering the effects of his illness seven weeks later,” Olsen said. “My other client is no longer hospitalized, but she is also still very weak. … Nobody using the Water Oak hot tub should suffer the way they have, and I intend to extract whatever justice I can.”
Water Oak Legionnaires’ disease outbreak: Club facts
Water Oak Country Club is an active, gated-community near The Villages, between Leesburg and Ocala, about 55 miles northwest of Orlando. Amenities include a golf course, tennis courts, bocce ball court, horseshoe pit, Olympic-size swimming pool, and a fitness center featuring a Jacuzzi and sauna.
Water Oak Legionnaires’ disease outbreak: Legionella 101
Legionnaires’ disease – sometimes called legionellosis or Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate about 25,000 Legionnaires’ cases occur yearly in the United States, and about 2,500 victims will die. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of the nonspecific signs and symptoms of the disease.
Legionella bacteria are usually contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets, in the form of mist or vapor. Legionella grow best in warm water, and are primarily found in human-made environments.
Numerous sources have been identified as being conducive to Legionella:
- hot tubs
- swimming pools
- showers and faucets
- physical therapy equipment
- hot-water tanks and heaters
- mist machines
- hand-held sprayers
- air conditioning cooling towers
- plumbing systems used in large buildings
- water systems, such as those used in hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
- decorative fountains.
Definition of an “outbreak”
The CDC classifies a “Legionnaires’ disease outbreak” as occurring when two or more people are exposed to Legionella and get sick in the same vicinity at about the same time.
Symptoms are similar to those of other types of pneumonia, as well as flu, and include:
- difficulty breathing
- high fever
- muscle aches and pains
- severe headaches
- gastrointestinal distress, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
People at greatest risk
Anyone can contract Legionnaires’ disease, but people who are most susceptible include:
- people 50 or older
- smokers, both current and former
- people with weakened immune systems
- heavy drinkers of alcohol
- people with chronic lung disease
- organ-transplant recipients
- people on specific drug protocols (for example, corticosteroids).