Legionnaires’ Disease Pneumonia at Warren Barr in Chicago

A resident of Warren Barr in the Gold Coast, a nursing home and rehabilitation center in Chicago, has died after contracting Legionnaires’ disease (LD), according to news reports. The Chicago Department of Public Health has not provided any additional information.

Attorney Fred Pritzker and his Bad Bug Law Team help families whose loved ones do not survive Legionnaires’ disease pneumonia.

Legionnaires disease is preventable with good water system maintenance. The only way to contract this deadly form of pneumonia is to breathe in water mist containing Legionella bacteria. Even a few cells can travel to a lobe of the lungs, colonize (multiply) and cause pneumonia. Prevention includes using chemical agents (or other methods) to kill any Legionella in a building’s water systems and periodic testing to make sure the chemicals are doing their job.

A family can get answers and justice by filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner of the building linked to the death.

To date, there is only one confirmed case of LD connected to the Warren Barr building. However, many cases of LD go undiagnosed.

CDC Study Looks at Finding Pathogenic Source of Pneumonia

Legionella is one bacteria that causes pneumonia. Each year, between 8,000 and 18,000 people are hospitalized with this form of pneumonia (called Legionnaires’ disease or legionellosis) in the U.S. However, according to the CDC, many infections are not diagnosed or reported.

A recent CDC study published in the New England Journal of Medicine highlights the problem. The study looked at community-acquired (not hospital or nursing home acquired) pneumonia cases at 5 hospitals in Chicago and Nashville. Although sensitive and specific diagnostic methods were used, pathogens (bacteria, virus and fungi) were only detected in 38% of the patients involved in the study. This means the pathogenic source of 62% of pneumonia cases was not determined.  The article points to several possible reasons for this:

  • inability to obtain lower respiratory tract specimens;
  • antibiotic use before specimen collection;
  • insensitive diagnostic tests for known pathogens;
  • a lack of testing for other known pathogens; and
  • illness caused by unknown pathogen.

Citation: Jain, Seema, et al. “Community-acquired pneumonia requiring hospitalization among US adults.” New England Journal of Medicine. Published online on July 14, 2015. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1500245#t=article.

Read other 2015 news.

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Category: Legionnaires' Disease
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