Dr. Nasia Safdar, Director of Infection Control at UW Health University Hospital, said the outbreak is likely the result of a recent decision by the staff to cut water flow during times of low usage at the facility. Restricted water flow can make the system vulnerable to Legionella pneumophila, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires, according to Safdar. Regular flow has resumed since the outbreak occurred, she said.
Free Case Review: Our lawyers wish to speak with anyone who has developed symptoms of Legionnaires disease. We offer a free, no-obligation review of your potential case. There are no out of pocket expenses associated with speaking with us. If you give us the opportunity, we would be happy to talk with you about your unique situation and to hopefully answer any questions you might have. Get a Free Case Evaluation
What’s the Problem?
As of Friday, 4 of the patients remain hospitalized at UW, while 6 have either been discharged or treated for symptoms in an outpatient setting. All 10 patients are considered stable for the time being, and an antibiotic regimen is proving effective.
One patient with other significant prior health problems died last week, according to NBC Chicago. Lisa Brunette, UW Health direction of media relations, said the “death was not unexpected.”
Legionnaires Disease History
Legionella was initially discovered after an unprecedented outbreak among people who went to a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion in 1976. Those who were affected suffered from a type of pneumonia (lung infection) that eventually became known as Legionnaires’ disease.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea)
Legionnaires Outbreak Likely Caused by Water Reduction
Until last month, UW Health University Hospital hadn’t had a single case of Legionnaires’ disease in 23 years, the facility said last week in a press release. Safdar attributed the recent outbreak to a recent staff decision to reduce water flow at the facility during low-demand times, which can make the system more susceptible to bacterial pathogens.
About 6,100 cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported in the U.S. in 2016, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That figure is likely an underestimate, as many cases go undiagnosed.
Do I Have a Legionnaires Disease Class Action Lawsuit?
The Class Action Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Legionnaires Disease lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.
Again, Our lawyers wish to speak with anyone who has been diagnosed with Legionnaires. We offer a free, no-obligation review of your potential case. There are no out of pocket expenses associated with speaking with us. If you give us the opportunity, we would be happy to talk with you about your unique situation and to hopefully answer any questions you might have.