I and my team of Legionnaires’ disease lawyers represent victims of this severe form of pneumonia in lawsuits against hotels and motels throughout the United States. Hotels and motels have been common locations for Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks since 1976, when the first recognized Legionnaires’ disease outbreak was linked to a hotel in Philadelphia.
Below is a case study of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak linked to a hotel. Every outbreak has unique characteristics, but this case study may help you understand how your loved one contracted the disease.
Legionnaires’ Disease Case Study
A local health department notified the state health department of two Legionnaires’ disease cases in two people who had stayed at hotel A during the incubation period (2 to 10 days for a Legionnaires disease infection). The two case patients had stayed in hotel A for 3 and 4 days within one day of each other, and their Legionnaires’ disease symptoms occurred 8 and 5 days after leaving hotel A. Both patients had radiographically confirmed pneumonia and positive Legionella urinary antigen tests that were consistent with L. pneumophila serogroup 1 (Lp1) infection. Environmental inspections and water sampling of hotel A found Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1.
Additional cases of Legionnaires disease were found by notifying hospital emergency departments, local health departments and hotel A guests. Six additional cases linked to the hotel were confirmed and one case was suspected. Symptom onset occurred a median of 7.5 days (range: 4–9 days) after leaving hotel A. The median age of the eight patients was 63 years (range: 37–70 years), and six (75%) patients were men. Five cases were confirmed by urine antigen testing and two by serology. Seven of the eight case patients were hospitalized.
A review of possible exposures to Legionella at hotel A revealed that all of them had showered or bathed in their respective rooms, and one had used the whirlpool spa. Six of the people sickened reported exposure to the swimming pool and whirlpool area. No other common sources of exposure linking all cases were identified.
The state health department and the CDC conducted three environmental inspections and four rounds of water testing at hotel A. The rooms in which the seven confirmed patients stayed were located in different areas and on different floors of the hotel. During all rounds of testing, water temperatures in multiple locations were in an ideal range for growth and amplification of Legionella (77ºF–108ºF [25ºC–42ºC]). Legionella pneumophila Serogroup 1 was recovered from multiple sites in hotel A, including the hot water storage tank; cooling tower; multiple hot water heaters; and showers and faucets in rooms occupied by patients and well guests. All environmental Lp1 isolates were the same monoclonal antibody type 1,2,5.
After an analysis of the available evidence, the CDC determined that the following facts linked hotel A to the Legionnaires disease outbreak:
- The exposure of patients to the hotel’s potable water system
- The lack of other epidemiologic links
- The recovery of Legionellae pneumophila serogroup 1from multiple points in the system.
Contact me for a free consultation regarding a lawsuit against a hotel or motel that has been linked to a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak. I have successfully handled both personal injury and wrongful death claims.