Chicago: Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak Worrisome for Travelers

Chicago: Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak Worrisome for Travelers | Pintas & Mullins Law Firm

A recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at a Chicago hotel may give travelers some chilly feet about upcoming adventures. The disease can cause serious illness or even death, as it did for two individuals who visited the JW Marriott in Chicago. Our sophisticated personal injury attorneys are concerned about this outbreak and we hope the victims will receive compensation for the serious damages sustained.

Legionnaires’ disease is basically an intensified version of pneumonia. Symptoms include high fever, chills, muscle aches and a cough. For some the disease is not too debilitating, while for others it can lead to death. Individuals most susceptible to Legionnaires’ are the elderly, smokers, and those with chronic lung disease. The illness can also seriously affect individuals who suffer from a weakened immune system as a result of another medical complication such as cancer or kidney failure.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting that each year anywhere from 8,000 to 18,000 individuals are infected with Legionnaires’. So far officials know that at least eight individuals contracted the illness at the Chicago hotel. The process of contacting guests who may have been exposed is ongoing. Notifications about the outbreak are being sent to 8,500 guests who stayed at the hotel over the course of a month from July 16 to August 15.

Of the guests impacted by the illness, two have died. The condition of the other six is currently unknown. According to health department officials the hotel is now decontaminated and safe for travelers.

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by legionella bacteria that often harbor in warm water pools. Warm water conducive to legionella growth can commonly be found in steam rooms, whirlpools, and large air conditioning systems. The bacteria tend to grow when the water circulated in these systems is not properly cleansed often enough.

Humans are at risk for Legionnaires’ if they inhale contaminated water. Inhalation may occur by breathing in moist air coming from an air vent, or steam rising off of a spa type amenity. The disease cannot be spread from person to person once it has been contracted. 

Unfortunately, it is extremely costly and time consuming to test water for legionella bacteria. According to the Chicago Tribune, waiting for results from water tests can take such a long time that the Chicago hotel likely will not use that method to cure the problem. Alternatively, the hotel went about containing the problem by draining and cleaning the pools and spa facilities.

Detection of Legionnaires’ disease in humans is much easier, and also much more common today than it used to be. Scientific developments now allow doctors to test for legionella bacteria whenever they suspect that a patient may have pneumonia. The most common ways to test for the bacteria are blood and urine analysis.

Although Legionnaires’ disease may sound intimidating, it does not take hold in many individuals who are exposed to the bacteria. Nevertheless, if you or a loved one may have Legionnaires’ disease you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you with your claim. Our Pintas & Mullins Law Firm legal team will fight aggressively on your behalf to secure maximum compensation for your injuries related to Legionnaires’.

The American legal system allows victims of illness like Legionnaires’ to recover compensation for their injuries. Our legal system recognizes the fact that people who cause injuries to others should be held accountable for their behavior. Thus a hotel that does not properly maintain air conditioning or spa facilities could be held liable for resulting injuries. Victims of such a horrific illness deserve compensation for the hardships they summer as a result of Legionnaires’.