Legionnaires’ Disease, a waterborne respiratory infection caused by the bacteria legionella, has recently seen an uptick in cases in the US. From the Mountain State Fair in North Carolina in 2019, to a basketball camp at Duke University, to even a Quality Inn in Missouri, the illness has continued to spread nationwide. With this alarming spike in the infection, one might wonder: what do I need to know about Legionnaires’ Disease?
What is Legionnaires’ Disease?
Legionnaires’ Disease is a severe type of pneumonia caused by inhaling water vapor containing the bacteria legionella. Legionella is naturally occurring in freshwater ecosystems such as streams and lakes. However, Legionnaires’ Disease is typically contracted following usage of a hot tub, spa, or contact with any human-made water systems such as plumbing systems, cooling towers, or decorative fountains. This can manifest into serious health issues, most notably the bacterial infection Legionnaires’. Legionella can also cause Pontiac fever, which is a milder illness that does not cause pneumonia. These illnesses are not contagious from person to person. Symptoms typically appear 2-14 days after exposure and can be indicated through urine testing.
This illness can be dangerous, and in the worst cases, deadly. Hospitalizations are common, many lasting days and weeks. According to the CDC, 1 in 10 people that test positive for Legionnaires’ Disease will die. If you have been in any high-risk places and are experiencing any of the below symptoms, contact your physician immediately:
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease
● Shortness of breath
● Muscle aches
Outbreak in North Carolina
The outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease at the North Carolina Mountain State Fair in 2019 shook the town of Fletcher and raised both health and legal concerns. The fair, which took place in the NC Agricultural Center in Buncombe County, caused 196 identified cases of the illness. As a result, ninety-six people were hospitalized and four people died. You can read more about the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in North Carolina at our previous blog post here.
Protecting the Good People of the Carolinas
As this potentially deadly bacteria continues to spread around the country, it is important to know what to do in the event of an infection. Your attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson are currently handling numerous cases related to the 2019 Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak at the North Carolina Mountain State Fair, and we’re not stopping there. If you or a loved one suffers from Legionnaire’s Disease due to legionella exposure, call our office toll-free at 800-533-6845 or submit a web inquiry form online for