5 Workers Get Legionnaires’ Disease At Owego Plant

Owego, N.Y. – Five workers at a shredding facility in Owego have come down with legionnaires’ disease.

It’s a type of pneumonia that can be fatal. It was named after an American Legion Convention in Philadelphia when many who attended contracted it.

The local cases have taken place since 2009 at the Upstate Shredding plant on Route 38 in Owego.

The legionnaires’ disease bacteria was found in pools of standing water near the shredder where the affected employees worked. None of the workers died from their illness.

The standing water pools have been eliminated and other precautions have also been taken.

Original article at: wetmtv.com

8 guests sue Las Vegas resort in Legionnaires case

LAS VEGAS — Eight former hotel guests are suing a Las Vegas Strip resort and its builders, seeking $337.5 million in damages and alleging they were exposed to Legionnaires’ disease during stays there earlier this year.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs said Wednesday the huge amount sought in compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of a handful of guests at the posh Aria Resort & Casino stems from negligence by resort owners MGM Resorts International and Dubai World, and the builders of the massive CityCenter complex. No hearing date was immediately set.

“What we’re looking at is the management of the water plan,” attorney Sam Mirkovich told The Associated Press. “There were multiple instances of the Legionella bacteria in the water system.”

MGM Resorts executive spokesman Alan Feldman denied negligence. The 266-page lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas was first reported by the Las Vegas Sun (http://bit.ly/plJUBY) and Las Vegas Review-Journal (http://bit.ly/mW0oyD). It involves three couples and two individuals from Arizona, California, Minnesota, Texas and Canada.

“While it is our policy to not comment on litigation, we have been very careful to communicate with each of our guests and reimburse them fairly for any legitimate medical expenses,” Feldman said. “We intend to vigorously defend ourselves.”

Six of the plaintiffs allege they were treated for Legionnaires’ disease. The potentially fatal respiratory ailment got its name after more than 200 people were sickened and 34 died in 1976 after a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion. Health investigators said the bacteria apparently spread through the convention hotel air conditioning system.

The Las Vegas-based Southern Nevada Health District reported in July that six former Aria guests recovered after treatment for the disease. MGM Resorts notified guests they may have been exposed between June 21 and July 4.

Mirkovich said plaintiffs in the lawsuit weren’t the same people reported by health officials to have been treated.

The 225-count complaint alleges guests were exposed to the disease in water vapor and steam when they used showers and faucets.

The glassy multistory Aria hotel, with nearly 4,000 rooms, opened in December 2009 as a key component of the $8.5 billion CityCenter resort complex.

The lawsuit was filed the same day Clark County officials asked MGM and Dubai World for more information about a proposal to implode a defective separate 26-story hotel that never opened. That property, called the Harmon hotel and condo tower, has been called a public safety risk.

Original article at: macon.com

Confirmed case of Legionnaires’ disease at St. Ann’s Community in Rochester, NY

It’s a bacterial disease that could cause pneumonia and the water at St. Ann’s in Rochester along with one of their residents have tested positive for it.

It’s called Legionnaires’ disease and it’s the first time in more than 25 years that the home has dealt with it.

News 10NBC is told that the one individual who was infected with Legionnaires has been treated and is fully recovered. Now the New York State Health Department is working closely with St. Ann’s home to develop a plan for making sure their water is safe again.

In the meantime, the home is only using bottled water for drinking and hygiene. The health department has supplied them with soap for bathing that doesn’t require water.

Medical Director Dr. Diane Kane said that per the recommendation of the health department, they are installing filters on all shower heads in the building to keep the bacteria out.

Dr. Kane can not say exactly when the resident learned he was infected with the disease but it is standard procedure with the health department that as soon as someone is infected, the water is tested.

St. Ann’s water supply tested positive for Legionnaires last Thursday.

The bacteria is actually very common and only causes problems in people with compromised immune systems but with the average age at St. Ann’s at 89, the at risk category includes almost everyone.

Dr. Kane said, “Just the word is scary to people but I think what we have to do is take a step back and put it in perspective. And by that I mean again it’s a ubiquitous organism quite honestly if you go out there and you test water and you test soil, guess what? You’re probably gonna find it and it’s not until someone comes down with Legionnaires’ disease that you go looking for it.”

Legionnaires is not a contagious disease. It is only contracted through direct exposure to the infected water.

Officials from St. Ann’s say that because the man who was infected frequently leaves the home on weekends to visit family and friends, they don’t know whether he was infected at St. Ann’s or somewhere else.

Original article at: WHEC.com

Redstone Arsenal officials hold town hall on Legionnaires’ disease

Huntsville, AL (WAFF) – Redstone Arsenal officials are conducting testing in one building for Legionnaires’ disease after a man who worked on base died.

They held a town hall meeting Tuesday for workers who want answers to any questions about Legionnaires’ disease.

A Huntsville man who worked on Redstone Arsenal in the PEO Aviation building died of the disease on August 4th. Several viewers contacted WAFF 48 News after learning the cause of the man’s death.

Legionnaires’ disease can have symptoms like many other forms of pneumonia, so it can be difficult to diagnose.

[Find out more about Legionnaires’ disease from CDC]

Because Legionnaires’ is an airborne illness, Redstone officials are testing at the PEO Aviation building. They have not found any traces of the disease in the building so far. They are still waiting on results from a lab.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, officials said that civilian employees can take off work if they don’t feel it’s safe to be in the building.

Officials are also testing several people who are exhibiting upper respiratory problems. So far, there are no positive results for Legionnaires’ among these people.

A Redstone Arsenal spokesman said they are doing everything possible to get the word out to employees about the possible health risk.

WAFF 48 News will continue to track new developments in this story.

Original article at: WAFF.com

US says Legionnaires cases triple over decade

ATLANTA (AP) — Cases of Legionnaires’ disease have tripled in the last decade, U.S. health officials said Thursday, but the risk of dying from it is lower because of more effective treatment.

Legionnaires most often strikes the elderly and can cause deadly pneumonia. The germ spreads through mist or vapor from contaminated water or air conditioning systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 3,522 cases in 2009, the most since Legionnaires was first identified in 1976. There were only 1,110 cases in 2000. CDC officials think the increase may be partly because there are more old people.

To be sure, Legionnaires remains uncommon. Just 8 percent of its victims died in the last decade, compared to 20 percent in the 1980s and 1990s. But it still kills hundreds of Americans each year. Despite the low case count, experts believe the disease sickens and even hospitalizes thousands every year whose cases aren’t reported.

The increase in cases is worrisome, said study co-author Dr. Lee Hampton, a CDC epidemiologist. “We need to minimize the risk of people dying from this,” he said.

The disease got its name from an outbreak at a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion in 1976 when more than 200 people were sickened and 34 died. The outbreak drew intense media coverage, and months later health investigators fingered the bacterial cause. The germ apparently had spread through the convention hotel’s air-conditioning system.

Early signs of the disease can include high fever, chills and a cough. Fortunately, some of the drugs most commonly used against pneumonia are first-line treatments against Legionnaires.

Cases of the disease held relatively steady in the 1980s-90s, but rose since 2000.

The CDC relies on doctors, hospitals and state health departments to report cases when they occur, and agency officials believe the national case count is an underestimate.

Original article at: NECN.com

Elevated levels of Legionella found at Parma General ICU

Parma — A routine water test in the intensive care unit at Parma Community General Hospital on Tuesday revealed elevated levels of Legionella, the bacterium that causes Legionnaire’s disease.

As of Friday afternoon, no cases of Legionnaire’s had been reported.

Hospital officials confirmed unusually high levels of the bacteria were found in faucet water from the ICU, although other areas of the hospital remained unaffected. Legionella is naturally occurring in water, but certain conditions, such as warm, stagnant water, can cause flare-ups.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, hospital buildings are at particular risk because of their complex water systems and the fact that many patients have illnesses that increase their risk for infection.

Legionnaire’s disease is contracted by inhaling contaminated water vapor. Common symptoms include a high fever, chills and a cough. Signs of illness usually begin two to 14 days after exposure.

Infection can lead to a form of pneumonia and even death in 5 percent to 30 percent of cases, according to the CDC.

Smokers, the elderly and people with lowered immune systems are more at risk of developing symptoms. Most patients can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

Since the discovery of the high bacteria levels, the hospital has relocated two ICU patients who were considered vulnerable and released a third. Parma will continue selected admissions to the ICU, said hospital marketing director Mark White. Patients and staff have been alerted.

White said that the hospital has already started eliminating the Legionella colonies by replacing the ICU faucets and flushing out the pipes with hot water.

“We’re erring on the side of caution,” White said. “There hasn’t been any outbreak. It’s a manageable situation.”

This is not the first time Legionella has been an issue at Parma General. Since a single case of Legionnaire’s disease occurred in 2002, the hospital has been voluntarily testing its water supply every quarter. White said there have been other instances of positive Legionella levels since testing began but no additional cases of Legionnaire’s.

Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan said that hospital officials had alerted his staff to the current situation. He applauded them for their continued testing regimen and reporting.

“It’s a very good practice to prevent cases among patients,” Allan said.

Last year, 33 cases of Legionnaire’s were reported in Cuyahoga County. There have been 22 cases so far this year.

Original article at: Cleveland.com