Elliot OlsenSick with Legionnaires’?
Call (612) 337-6126

Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease, and he has regained millions of dollars for them. If you or a family member got sick from Legionnaires’ at West Orange Town Hall, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation, or complete the following:

Elevated levels of Legionella bacteria were discovered at the West Orange Town Hall in New Jersey after Legionnaires’ disease hospitalized a long-time municipal employee.

West Orange is located about 13 miles west of New York City, and 5 miles west of downtown Newark.

Officials of the central Essex County town said they have hired an outside environmental company to test water sources at the two buildings in which the employee worked.

One building – which was not named to protect the privacy of the employee – was free of Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease. Five of the 10 water samples taken from the Town Hall, however, returned “elevated levels” of the potentially deadly bacteria.

Despite the Town Hall’s positive tests, it is unknown whether the worker got sick while on the job. The employee is “making a recovery,” according to West Orange business administrator John Sayers.

The employee’s name, gender, and age have not been released.

West Orange Town Hall: more tests to come

Because of the positive test at the Town Hall, the township will test all other municipal buildings. In addition, officials said they have disconnected the potable water supply at the Town Hall as well as taken other “remedial steps.”

“We have been assured by outside consultants and experts that by shutting down the potable water supply, installing filters … replacing the hot water heater, which has already been disconnected, and making plumbing repairs, that the conditions will be remedied and safe,” said Robert Parisi, mayor of West Orange. “We will ensure that all prescribed remedies are in place as quickly as possible.”

Employees and visitors to the town’s municipal buildings who have recently suffered from or are currently exhibiting pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms (see below) should seek immediate medical attention from their primary health-care provider.

They also should report their illness to the West Orange Health & Welfare Department (WOHWD) by calling 973-325-4120 or sending an email to healthdept@westorange.org.

West Orange Town Hall worker hospitalized with Legionnaires'; Legionella found

Elevated levels of Legionella bacteria were discovered at the West Orange Town Hall in New Jersey after Legionnaires’ disease hospitalized a municipal employee.

West Orange Town Hall: 81-year-old building

The Town Hall, which was built in 1937 and is located at 66 Main Street, is home to all of the city departments:

  • The basement contains a garage, storage space, and a block of six cells.
  • On the first floor are the police headquarters, courtroom, and offices for the mayor, clerk, treasurer, and others.
  • The second floor has offices for the engineer, director, building inspector, the street department, and a drafting room.

West Orange Town Hall: disease info

Legionnaires’ disease is also known as legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia. It is a severe type of pneumonia (lung infection).

An estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur yearly in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.

Ten percent of people who become infected with Legionella bacteria will die from the infection.

Legionnaires’ symptoms
Legionnaires’ disease is similar to other types of pneumonia, and the symptoms can even resemble those of flu. That is one big reason Legionnaires’ disease goes under-reported.

Symptoms can include:

  • coughing
  • difficulty breathing, also called dyspnea
  • high fever
  • severe headaches
  • muscle pains
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, etc..

High-risk categories
Legionella can make anyone ill, but those who are the most susceptible to infection include:

  • people 50 years old or older
  • smokers, both former and current
  • people with chronic lung disease
  • heavy drinkers of alcohol
  • people with weakened immune systems
  • recipients of organ transplants
  • anyone on a specific drug protocol, such as corticosteroids.

Legionella sources
Legionella are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets (vapor or mist). The bacteria grow best in warm water, and they are found primarily in human-made environments.

Outbreaks and clusters have been linked to a number of sources, such as:

  • water systems of large buildings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
  • large plumbing systems
  • bathroom faucets and showers
  • swimming pools, whirlpools, and hot tubs
  • hot-water heaters and tanks
  • physical-therapy equipment
  • decorative fountains
  • mist machines, such as those used in the produce sections of grocery stores
  • hand-held sprayers
  • cooling towers of air conditioning systems.