Our law firm is investigating the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak associated with the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Contact attorney Fred Pritzker and his team of Legionnaires’ disease lawyers if you want a free consultation regarding a lawsuit for compensation.
A summer outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada continues. In June, two people who stayed at the luxury resort were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia that is often fatal when contracted by individuals over the age of 55, smokers, those with compromised immune systems, or people with underlying medical conditions like diabetes or respiratory illness. On Tuesday, the Southern Nevada Health District alerted the public that the number of Legionnaires’ disease cases associated with the Rio Hotel and Casino has risen to seven confirmed diagnoses; 28 possible cases are also being investigated. The resort is located at 3700 W. Flamingo Road in Las Vegas.
“The Southern Nevada Health District’s investigation is continuing. To date, the Health District has been able to confirm seven cases of Legionnaires disease associated with this investigation. The investigation will continue so the Office of Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance staff members remain available to speak with guests who have questions, or might have been ill. Our Environmental Health Division continues to work with the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Using best practices, the hotel has installed a secondary disinfection system as part of its water management program to ensure the safety of its guests.” – The Southern Nevada Health District
After the initial two victims contracted Legionnaires’ disease (also called legionellosis) in March and April, a June investigation by environmental health inspectors discovered that the hot water system in one of the hotel’s two towers had been contaminated by Legionella pneumonia bacteria. When this bacteria is allowed to proliferate in undermaintained water systems, it can be disseminated into the air in the form of water vapor; common sources are hot tubs, spas, showers, decorative fountains, cooling towers, and ice machines. When people breathe in or aspirate this mist, they can become ill either with Legionnaire’s disease (which often requires hospitalization), or a milder version of legionellosis, Pontiac Fever.
Subsequent to the two-case outbreak, many other guests who had stayed at the resort around the same time returned home, became ill with pneumonia-like symptoms, and were diagnosed by their local doctors as having contracted legionellosis during their resort stay. Because physicians often misdiagnose Legionnaires’ disease as common pneumonia, there may be more cases that have not been reported (Legionnaires’ disease is a reportable illness, which means that diagnosed cases must be reported by attending physicians to health departments so that potential outbreaks can be identified and investigated).
In addition to the 7 confirmed and 28 possible cases of Legionnaire’s disease traced to the Rio Hotel, at least 58 guests have contracted Pontiac Fever, the milder form of legionellosis.
Despite the announcement of the new cases by the Southern Nevada Health District, Rio Hotel administrators released a statement yesterday, November 16th, saying that all water sources have been remediated and the hotel and adjacent casino remain open for business:
“The entire Rio Property is open and we have remediated all water sources. We continue to work with the Southern Nevada Health Department and have taken the additional step of voluntarily installing a new filtration system to help prevent a reoccurrence.
Regarding notifications, we continue to follow the guidelines provided by the health department. All customer issues and concerns are being handled promptly and confidentially.” – The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino
Legionnaires’ Disease and Luxury Resorts
Las Vegas has witnessed several serious outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease over the past decade. Its large-scale resorts often provide textbook breeding and dissemination conditions for the Legionella bacteria: huge, often dated buildings contain very complex water systems that support luxury water features like hot tubs, fountains, swimming pools, and spas / saunas.
The bacteria can be extremely difficult to eradicate, which is why constant water systems testing, monitoring, and maintenance is imperative. Nonetheless, a few resorts continue to host repeat outbreaks.
Significant cases and outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease at resort destination hotels include:
- Disneyland (Investigation Ongoing to determine if there is a link): Can I Sue Disneyland for Legionnaires’ Disease?
- The Guest House at Graceland, Memphis, TN (9 cases in 2017)
- Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, NV (6 cases in 2011; at least 3 cases in late 2009-2010)
- Polo Towers, Las Vegas, NV (4 cases in 2001; 4 cases in 2008)
Our law firm is currently representing one of the victims of this year’s outbreak at The Guest House at Graceland, Mr. J., a man from Florida who caught the illness during a one-night stay.
Lawsuits Against Hotels
Hotels have the responsibility to ensure that the environment they provide for their guests and employees is safe – and this means they must be vigilant in ensuring the purity of their water systems through frequent testing and maintenance. When resorts fail to implement water management plans, Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks occur.
If you need legal help to address a Legionnaires’ disease case contracted at a hotel, please call 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) or use our free consultation form to arrange a confidential consultation regarding a Legionnaires disease lawsuit.