Attorney Fred Pritzker recently won $3 million for a family for a Legionnaires disease wrongful death. He is now investigating the Legionnaires disease outbreak linked to the JW Marriott hotel in Chicago.  The main fountain in the first floor lobby of the JW Marriott hotel is the likely main source of the outbreak that sickened 10 people, three of whom died. The fountain has been removed. Likely secondary sources of the outbreak are the pool, whirlpool, and men’s and women’s locker rooms, all of which remain disabled or inaccessible to the public.

“Hotels are well aware of the dangers of Legionnaires disease, which is caused by Legionella bacteria colonizing in hotel water sources,” said Pritzker. “The JW Marriott needs to be held accountable for these illnesses and deaths.” Contact Attorney Fred Pritzker for a free consultation here.

The Chicago Department of Public Heath (CDPH) believes that the health concern is limited to the JW Marriott hotel from the period of July 16, 2012 – August 15, 2012. However, our attorneys are available to victims and families regardless of the dates victims stayed at the hotel.

“We are not ruling out the possibility that others may have been sickened in this outbreak,” said Pritzker, who represents Legionnaires disease victims nationwide. Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by a bacterium known as Legionella. Legionnaires’ disease (sometimes referred to as Legionella pneumonia) is contracted by breathing in small droplets (mist or vapor) of water contaminated with the Legionella bacteria.

CDPH is continuing to investigate the extent of the outbreak of Legionnaire’s associated with people who visited or stayed at the JW Marriott Chicago hotel, located at 151 W. Adams Street, between July 16 and August 15, 2012. “Individuals who stayed or visited the hotel during this time period who are experiencing fever and respiratory  symptoms are encourage to get in touch with a healthcare provider,” Dr. Kathy Ritger of the CDPH. “It is important that all potential cases are diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, to shorten the recovery period and help prevent serious complications.”

We agree. Early detection and quality care is critical. The three people who died include Thomas Keane, 66, of Ireland, a physician from Florida and another out-of-state guest.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) regulates swimming facilities and their accompanying features and in this capacity supported CDPH’s investigation through testing for Legionella bacteria in the hotel. Samples taken from the lobby fountain, as well as the women’s locker room, men’s locker room, swimming pool, and whirlpool located within the “Valeo Spa” area on the lower level of the hotel, tested positive for the same species of Legionella as were found in the ill patients. In addition to collecting samples from these areas, IDPH also collected samples from shower heads in guest rooms, which tested negative for Legionella bacteria.

Maintaining proper water quality suppresses the growth of Legionella bacteria and inhibits biofilms.  When proper water quality is not maintained, even for a short period of time, Legionella may flourish and then be present in sufficient concentrations to be a significant health risk. Our law firm’s investigation of this outbreak will look closely at what (if any) maintenance was performed on the fountain, pool and whirlpool for the last several months.