Legionnaires’ Disease in Florida: IslandWalk Pool, Spa Implicated

A Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Florida has been connected to a pool and spa at IslandWalk at the West Villages in North Port, Florida. IslandWalk is a new residential community with two outdoor pools, a “tropical resort pool” and a lap pool.

“Legionnaires’ disease is caused by breathing in water mist contaminated with Legionella bacteria. The cells of Legionella multiply in the lobes of the lungs, causing pneumonia. These deadly bacteria can get into the blood stream and cause sepsis, which can lead to multiple-organ failure.”Attorney Fred Pritzker

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The Florida Department of Health (FDH), Sarasota County, obtained water samples from the pools and spa at IslandWalk, from the irrigation system, and from other locations on the property. FDH is awaiting water test results. They should come this week.

Legionella Bacteria
This is an image of Legionella bacteria magnified 6500 times. These microscopic cells can lodge in the lobes of the lungs and cause Legionella pneumonia. They can also travel to other parts of the body in the blood and cause sepsis, which can result in brain damage, heart attack, kidney failure and other life threatening health conditions.

Although the irrigation system at IslandWalk has been tested, health officials do not think that is the source of the outbreak because all of the cases have the pool and spa in common. The test results will shed more light on the source of the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, also called legionellosis.

The legionellosis outbreak was first detected in February by an infectious disease doctor at who diagnosed two people with Legionnaires’ disease, both of whom had used the hot tub at Island Walk. Those two and others were diagnosed at Venice Regional Bayfront Health. In addition, at least three people who used the pool and/or hot tub at Island Walk were diagnosed at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. We are still determining the exact number of people sickened in this outbreak.

Part of the outbreak investigation involves determining if DiVOSTA and any other companies involved in the ownership and maintenance of IslandWalk properly tested the pools and spa. FDH requires them to be tested daily to make sure the PH and disinfectant levels are correct. This is because Legionella bacteria can quickly grow in these environments, particularly spas due to the warm temperature of the water.

“A thorough examination of company records is essential to any outbreak investigation,” said Fred Pritzker, a lawyer who helps Legionnaires’ disease victims throughout the United States.

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Category: Legionnaires' Disease
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