What is Legionnaires' Disease?
Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia. It is caused by Legionella bacteria, which is found naturally in the envrionment, usually in warm water.
People contract the disease by breathing in droplets of mist or vapr that contain the bacteria. The more bacteria in the water droplets, the greater the risk of infection. The disease is not transmitted person to person.
Where Do Outbreaks Occur?
Generally, Legionella bacteria grow in warm, humid envrionments, and are then transmitted to people through water droplets in the air. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the bacteria can be found in water from shower heads, faucets, and ventilation systems.
The Mayo Clinic lists several different sources that have been linked to Legionnaires' outbreaks, including:
- Hot tubs and whirlpools on cruise ships
- Mist machines in grocery stores
- Cooling towers in air conditioning systems
- Decorative fountains
- Swimming pools
- Physical therapy equipment
- Water systems in hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, industrial facilities, and residential buildings
Most outbreaks occur in large buildings, which researchers hypothesize is because complex systems allow the bacteria to grow and spread more easily.
What are Symptoms of Legionnaires' Disease?
Symptoms of Legionnaires' disease generally develop 2 to 14 days after exposure to the bacteria. The first symptoms to appear usually include:
- Muscle aches
- High fever
After several days, the next round of symptoms may include:
- Severe cough
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Nausea & vomiting
- Confusion & other cognitive difficulties
Although Legionnaires' disease primarily affects the lungs, in some cases it can lead to infections in wounds and other parts of the body, such as the heart.
If allowed to progress, Legionnaires' disease can lead to life-threatening complications, such as:
- Respiratory failure
- Septic shock
- Acute kidney failure
Hospitalization for Legionnaires' disease is common. If it is not treated properly, it can be fatal.
What are Risk Factors of Legionnaires' Disease?
Not everyone who is exposed to Legionella bacteria contracts Legionnaires' disease. Certain risk factors make it more likely to develop the infection.
The most susceptible individuals are those who:
- Are very young
- Are 50 years of age or older
- Have chronic lung disease
- Have a weakened immune system
How are Legionnaires' Outbreaks Treated?
Legionnaires' disease is treated with antibiotics. In many cases, proper treatment requires hospitalization.
It is essential to get a prompt diagnosis so that proper treatment can begin quickly -- the sooner medication is started, the less likely the chance of severe complications or death. The fatality rate for Legionnaires' disease can be as high as 30%.
There are several ways in which your doctor could diagnose the disease. The quickest method is a Legionella Urine Antigen test, which checks your urine for foreign substances that trigger an immune system response. This test has a high degree of specificity.
Doctors can also test your blood, sputum samples, or lung tissue samples for evidence of Legionella bacteria infection. A chest X-ray can be performed to show the extent of infection in your lungs, and a CT scan of your brain or a spinal tap may be necessary if you have cognitive symptoms.
To stop a Legionnaires' outbreak, the Legionella bacteria must be removed from the enviornment in which it is growing. Generally, state and local health departments are responsible for investigating and identifying the source of infection, and then implementing the control measures for removing the bacteria.
What are the Criteria for Filing a Legionnaires' Disease Lawsuit?
If you have tested positive for Legionella bacteria and experienced the symptoms of Legionnaires' disease, you meet the criteria to file a Legionnaires' disease lawsuit.
You may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as the medical bills incurred from treatment.
Legionnaires' disease lawsuits usually involve outbreaks of the disease where a state or local health department is conducting an investigation, rather than individual, isolated cases of the disease. For those affected by an outbreak and seeking to file a lawsuit, you must have a documented case of Legionella infection.
Lawsuits have already been filed on behalf of residents in two different areas of the Bronx, New York who were victimes of a Legionnaires' disease outbreak. Hospital patients in North Carolina and Alabama have also filed lawsuits over Legionella bacteria infections.
Our award-winning attorneys can help you if you have also been a victim of a Legionnaires' disease outbreak. We can get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Who are the Best Rated Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak Lawyers?
Our legal team includes the most successful Legionnaires' disease attorneys in Michigan. Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. and our lawyers have won the top awards in the legal profession, including:
- U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firms
- "Best Michigan Personal Injury Attorney" by American Lawyer Academy
- Named Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Michigan
- Honored as "Super Lawyers"
- Top Martindale-Hubbell Rating (AV) for Skill & Integrity
- Member of Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Our No Fee Promise on Legionnaires' Disease Cases
Don't be concerned about the money you might need to hire a lawyer. You can afford to have the best Legionnaires' disease law firm on your side without paying a penny out of your pocket. It literally costs nothing to get started and if your case is unsuccessful for any reason, you owe us nothing. We promise you in writing:
- No money to hire us or get started on your case
- We pay all case costs and expenses from start to finish
- You pay no legal fees whatsoever unless you receive a settlement
- Phone calls to our office are always free, forever.
Start Your Legionnaires' Disease Claim
There are three ways to get started on your Legionnaires' disease case today to get the settlement you deserve. You can:
- Submit the Free Case Review Box on this page. An attorney will contact you shortly.
- Chat with our online live operator who will provide your information to our law firm
- Call (800) 606-1717 any time of day to speak with an injury lawyer about your case.
Warning: There are strict time deadlines for filing Legionnaires' disease lawsuits. Call us today to learn more about Legionnaires' disease outbreak claims.