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 became ill in this Water Oak Legionnaires’ outbreak, please call (612) 337-6126, or complete the following:
Attorney Elliot Olsen was retained this week by a retired Chicago-area woman who became sick in the Water Oak Legionnaires’ outbreak in Florida.
Last weekend, the Florida Department of Health in Lake County confirmed two Legionnaires’ disease cases at Water Oak Country Club, a 55-plus retirement community in Lady Lake. Testing performed by the department confirmed the existence of Legionella – the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease – in the club’s hot tub.
The 61-year-old woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Olsen she became ill after visiting her brother at Water Oak. She said she used the hot tub at least five times during the last two weeks of March.
The woman started feeling sick on March 27, and she said she figured that she had the flu on the drive home the 28th and 29th. On April 2, her husband took her to the emergency room at Palos Hospital in suburban Palos Heights, and she said she was hospitalized for the next 11 days.
Her condition has been exacerbated by the fact she is older than 50 and a smoker with a weakened immune system – three conditions that make her a high risk for contracting Legionnaires’ disease.
Nonetheless, Olsen said he is confident his client has a strong case against the club.
“She is no longer in the hospital, but she is still very weak after her battle with Legionnaires’ disease,” Olsen said. “Everybody using the Water Oak hot tub has the rightful expectation that they won’t become seriously ill – and no one should suffer as long as she has.”
Water Oak Legionnaires’:
Country club facts and figures
Water Oak Country Club is a 300-acre, active gated-community located near The Villages, off U.S. 27/441 between Leesburg and Ocala, about 55 miles northwest of Orlando. Club amenities include a golf course, tennis courts, a bocce ball court, a horseshoe pit, an Olympic-size swimming pool, and a fitness center that features a Jacuzzi and sauna.
Water Oak Country Club is owned by Sun Communities, Inc., which has more than 300 manufactured home communities and RV resorts in 29 states and Ontario, Canada. Sun Communities offers all-age communities, Sun RV resorts, and active 55-plus communities. Water Oak is one of Sun’s 100 active 55-plus communities in 71 cities.
Residents, visitors and employees who have used the Water Oak hot tub since Feb. 1 and who have exhibited or are exhibiting pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms should see their health-care provider. They should also report their illness to the Department of Health, (352) 771-5573.
Water Oak Legionnaires’:
Legionnaires’ disease is also known as legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia. It 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 cases of Legionnaires’ disease occur in the U. S. each year, and about 10 percent of those infected will die. However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.
Legionella bacteria are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets (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, such as:
- hot tubs
- swimming pools
- showers and faucets
- equipment used in physical therapy
- hot-water tanks and heaters
- mist machines
- hand-held sprayers
- air conditioning cooling towers
- plumbing systems used in large buildings
- water systems, like those used in hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
- decorative fountains.
It is possible to contract Legionella by “aspirating” – choking or coughing while drinking – contaminated water, which causes the water to go down the wrong pipe and into the lungs. Home plumbing systems also can be home to Legionella. Both of those situations are very rare.
The CDC classifies a “Legionnaires’ disease outbreak” as happening when two or more people are exposed to Legionella bacteria and get sick in the same vicinity at approximately the same time.
Legionnaires’ disease symptoms are similar to those of other types of pneumonia, as well as flu, and include:
- shortness of breath
- muscle aches
- gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Anyone can contract Legionnaires’ disease, but people who are most susceptible include:
- people 50 years old or older
- smokers, current and former
- people with compromised immune systems
- heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages
- people who suffer from chronic lung disease
- recipients of organ transplants
- individuals on specific drug protocols, such as corticosteroids.