Legionnaires’ Disease Cluster in Palm Springs, Palm Desert

A cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases in the Palm Springs, Palm Desert area includes 20 illnesses and two deaths, according to the Riverside County University Health System in California. Fourteen people have been hospitalized.

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How is Legionnaires’ Disease Spread?

Legionnaires’ disease, a severe, often deadly form of pneumonia, is not spread through person-to-person contact. People get Legionnaires’ disease when they inhale water vapor that is contaminated with Legionella bacteria.

Although Legionella are found in nature, they grow best in the warm, stagnant water of manmade structures. Outbreaks are often linked to hot tubs, fountains, cooling towers, and the air conditioning or the plumbing systems of large buildings.

Because the plumbing systems of hospitals, hotels, apartment buildings, and senior living facilities are often identified as the source of outbreaks, companies that manage these buildings are supposed to have water management plans in place that include Legionella mitigation.

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Risk Factors of Legionnaires’ Disease

Legionnaires’ disease symptoms usually develop within 14 days of exposure. They include fever, cough, headache, muscle aches, and shortness of breath. Legionnaires’ disease can be treated with antibiotics, but most people with these infections require hospitalization. About 10 percent of all cases are fatal.

Some people are at elevated risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease including:

  • People over 50
  • Current and former smokers
  • People who have chronic lung disease, liver failure, cancer, or diabetes
  • People with weakened  immune systems

Palm Springs, Palm Desert Legionnaires’ Outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with state and county health officials to investigate 20 Legionnaires’ disease illnesses reported between the fall of 2021 and early 2022. They have not yet identified the source of the illness. But they wanted residents of the Coachella Valley area to be aware of the outbreak, and they recommend that anyone with symptoms should see a doctor right away.

Between 2013 and 2019, 2,933 cases of Legionnaires’ disease occurred in California, according to the state department of public health. About 95 percent of patients required hospitalization and 10 percent died. Seventy-three percent of the cases were reported from Southern California. The county with the highest average rate was Los Angeles County.

Legionella bacteria is tested to determine source of pneumonia.
Legionella Culture

2018 Four Seasons Legionnaires’ Outbreak

In 2018, two residents of the Four Seasons 55+ community in Palm Springs contracted Legionnaires’  disease. Test results performed by a private company showed water samples from the pool and spa area were positive for Legionella bacteria.

Four Seasons management drained and deep cleaned the pools as part of the mitigation process.

Our Legionnaires’ Disease Legal Team

Our Legionnaires’ lawyers represent Legionella outbreak victims and their families. For the past 40 years, we have been representing people who developed serious illnesses because corporate wrongdoers failed to put water safety plans in place. Our lawyers recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of a man who developed Legionnaires’ disease after a senior living facility in Illinois failed to properly maintain and clean its water system.

One of the first steps you should take after being diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease is to consult with an experienced lawyer. For a free consultation with one of our lawyers, please call 612-338-0202, text 612-261-0856, or fill out the form below.

We are not paid unless you win. Submitting this form does not create an attorney-client relationship.



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