Legionnaires’ Disease at San Diego State University, 1 Dead [Updated]

Updated April 18 to include information about another fatality. Professor Michael J. Buono, who contracted Legionnaires’ disease at San Diego State University (SDSU) in February, has died, the university has confirmed. Buono, a faculty member in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, was the only person with a confirmed case of Legionnaires’ disease after a problem was discovered last month.

People get Legionnaires disease is a severe, often fatal, form of pneumonia when they inhale water droplets that are contaminated with Legionella bacteria. Buono’s passing on March 4 occurred just days after another San Diego County man, 42-year-old Benjamin Smith of Santee, died of Legionnaires’ disease. In San Diego County, 15 cases of Legionnaires’ disease and three deaths have been reported as of April 18.

The SDSU Exercise and Nutritional Sciences building, where Buono worked, was temporarily closed for testing in February while investigators worked to identify the source of contamination.

In a campus-wide email sent out in February, the SDSU Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) announced that “a campus community member” was diagnosed with Legionella pneumonia. And it recommended that students, faculty, and staff take the following health and safety measures.

  • Monitor your health and do not come to campus if you feel sick.
  • If you are diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, report your case to the university by filling out a Health Advisories Form.
  • If you are a student, contact your instructor with questions about whether courses are canceled or moved online this week. 
  • If you are a faculty member, contact your students about plans for classes this week in consultation with your dean, department chair, or school director.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

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Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuit Information

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, you need the help of an experienced infectious disease lawyer to investigate your case and lay the foundation for a lawsuit. Water management plans are the industry standard for preventing Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. When building owners and operators fail to follow or implement an effective water management plan, public health is put at risk.

Contact an Experienced Legionnaires’ Disease Lawyer

Pritzker Hageman is one of the few law firms in the country with experience representing clients in Legionnaires’ disease lawsuits. Our Legionnaires’ lawyers represent Legionella outbreak victims and their families who have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one.  For a free consultation with the Pritzker Hageman Legionnaires’ Legal Team, please call 1-888-377-8900, text 612-261-0856, or fill out the form below.

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