Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed with increasing frequency during the last year. There have been two very recent outbreaks in the Bronx, New York. One outbreak in the South Bronx sickened over 120 people and caused 12 deaths. Another outbreak in the Morris Park section has sickened approximately 13 persons and caused 1 death to date.
What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease (or Legionellosis) is a type of pneumonia. It is caused by bacteria (Legionella) that grow in warm water.
Is the disease contagious?
No. Legionnaires’ disease is not spread from person to person. People only get sick by breathing in water vapor containing the bacteria. People who are sick cannot make others sick.
Who is at risk?
Groups at high risk include people who are middle-aged or older—especially cigarette smokers—people with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems and people who take medicines that weaken their immune systems (immunosuppressive drugs).
What are the symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease?
Symptoms are like the flu and can include fever, chills, muscle aches and cough. Some people may also have headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion or diarrhea.
What should I do if I think I have Legionnaires’ disease?
If you have flu-like symptoms, seek medical attention right away, especially if you have a medical condition that affects your breathing, like emphysema, or if you are a smoker.
What is the treatment for Legionnaires’ disease?
The disease is treated with antibiotics. Most people get better with early treatment, although they may need to be hospitalized. Some people may get very sick or even die from complications of the disease. That’s why it is important to get medical help right away if you develop symptoms.
Where does the Legionella bacteria come from?
Illness typically occurs when building owners or managers improperly maintain cooling towers (commercial air conditioning units) and potable water systems. When Legionella is present, the water vapor from these cooling towers can make susceptible people ill. Legionnaires’ disease can be prevented by regular maintenance and testing of cooling towers and potable water systems.
The Locks Law Firm is investigating cases of Legionnaires disease that may have been caused by contaminated cooling towers and other sources. Joining us in our efforts is attorney Jules Zacher. Mr. Zacher represents victims of Legionnaires’ disease nationally. Please visit his website at www.legionnairelawyer.com. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease that you believe may have been caused by a contaminated water source, contact us at: 866 – LOCKSLAW (866-562-5752).