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How Legionnaires’ Disease Transmission Can Impact Your Health

Posted on in Personal Injury

Rolling Meadows medical negligence attorney Legionnaires disease

A common cause for personal injury cases and medical negligence lawsuits, Legionnaires’ disease, originally discovered back in 1976, still continues to cause health problems nationwide due to building maintenance negligence and misdiagnosis within the healthcare community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1 out of 10 people who contract Legionnaires' dies from the disease, and health departments recorded approximately 10,000 cases in the United States in the year 2018 alone. While these numbers represent official cases, experts say these statistics are not entirely accurate, as many new cases remain undiagnosed. If you fear you or your loved one has recently been exposed to the bacteria responsible for Legionnaires’ disease, it is important to understand how the disease is transmitted and how your health may be affected.

How the Disease Spreads

Manifesting as a pneumonia lung infection, Legionnaires’ disease is caused by Legionella bacteria, which grows naturally in fresh water supplies, such as lakes and streams. When this bacteria makes its way into a building’s man-made water management system and multiplies, it is at this stage that it becomes hazardous for humans to breathe in. If the plumbing system of a building or structure is not properly maintained, the bacteria can be inhaled via mist from showers, cooling fans, hot tubs, or even decorative fountains. Here are some basic transmission facts you should be aware of:

  • The disease does not generally spread from person to person through contact.

  • Legionella bacteria grows faster in warm water, which is why hot tubs are particularly dangerous when an excessive amount of the bacteria is present in the plumbing system.

  • Hospitals, hotels, cruise ships, and nursing homes are notorious sources of infection.

  • Certain health factors make you more susceptible to transmission, such as being 50 years of age or older, having a weakened immune system, having an existing chronic lung problem, or being a current or former smoker.

Health Repercussions

Despite the frightening reality that some Legionnaires’ cases cause fatalities, many cases do result in full recovery, as the infection can be successfully treated with antibiotics. If you are diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease, you may experience a number of uncomfortable symptoms, which typically appear within 2-10 days after exposure. Signs that indicate you may be infected include:

  • Coughing and/or shortness of breath

  • Muscle aches

  • Headaches

  • Fever

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

  • Mental confusion

Fever and muscle aches not accompanied by any respiratory symptoms may point to Pontiac Fever, which is a milder infection caused by the same bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease. X-rays, other diagnostic testing, antibiotic treatment, and hospitalization may be required depending on the severity of your case and how soon you are diagnosed. If your diagnosis is delayed due to medical malpractice, and you have other existing health conditions, you may be at greater risk for more severe symptoms. 

Contact a Palatine Medical Negligence Attorney

Even if your case of Legionnaires’ disease is not a severe one, you still may be entitled to pursue compensation for any time you lost at work, accumulated medical debts, or the pain and suffering you experienced due to someone else’s negligence. Speaking with a knowledgeable, seasoned Arlington Heights personal injury lawyer can provide the legal help and representation you need to effectively pursue compensation in a court of law. Call Newland & Newland LLP today at 847-797-8000 to schedule a free phone consultation.  

 

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/about/causes-transmission.html

https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/about/index.html

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