A Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Warren Barr South Loop Nursing Home in Chicago has sickened two people. The outbreak is one of two clusters of the severe pneumonia illness recently identified by state health officials.

Attorney Fred Pritzker
Attorney Fred Pritzker

People over the age of 50, those with weakened immune systems and those who have underlying health conditions are at heightened risk of Legionnaires’ disease. So it’s imperative that nursing homes are vigilant in testing for Legionella bacteria, said Legionnaires’ disease lawyer Fred Pritzker. “These outbreaks are preventable with adequate maintenance and testing.”

Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, grows best in warm water. Most outbreaks occur in manmade settings that have complex water systems such as hopsitals, hotels, cruise ships and nursing homes. It thrives in plumbing or air-conditioning systems, hot water tanks, cooling towers, fountains, hot tubs and spas.

Legionnaires’ Disease Facts

People contract Legionnaire’s disease by inhaling the mist of water contaminated with Legionella. It is not contagious. Symptoms include cough, muscle aches, headache and high fever.

Each year, about 6,100 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are reported nationwide. In Illinois, about 300 people contract Legionnaires’ disease annually.  The other recently identified outbreak in Illinois is in McHenry County where 12 people are sick. A Walmart store in Johnsburg is a possible source of that outbreak, according to state health officials.

Warren Barr South Loop is cooperating with health authorities and has taken some measures. For example, the nursing home has revised its water management plan, stepped up its environmental sampling and notified residents.

Fred Pritzker and the Legionnaires’ disease lawyers at Pritzker Hageman have won millions of dollars on behalf of clients sickened and for families who have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one. To contact them, call 1-888-377-8900 (toll free). Or, use this online form to start your free, confidential consultation regarding a Legionnaires disease lawsuit.

Legionella Bacteria
CDC image of Legionella bacteria.