The airborne illness can cause severe problems and sometimes even death.
Recently, the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas announced that two guests contracted Legionnaire’s Disease while staying at their resort during March and April. After the illnesses were confirmed, the Rio inspected its water system, which tested positive for the bacteria that causes the disease, Legionella. The Southern Nevada Health District is investigating the matter.
Legionnaire’s Disease was first diagnosed in 1976 after 182 attendees at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia contracted a pneumonia-like disease. 29 of those sickened later died. The disease is caused by the Legionella bacteria, which is found in fresh water. It can contaminate hot water tanks, cooling towers of large air conditioners and hot tubs, all of which are typically present in large hotels and office buildings. Symptoms of Legionnaire’s Disease include shortness of breath, high fever, muscle pains, headaches, and cough. These symptoms typically begin within two to ten days of exposure. The people most at risk of contracting Legionnaire’s Disease include older people, those with a history of smoking, those with chronic lung disease, and other people who have weakened immune systems. The disease is treated with antibiotics, and hospitalization is often required. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 10% of people who become infected with Legionnaire’s Disease ultimately die. The CDC reports that there are approximately 5,000 cases of Legionnaire’s Disease in the United States each year, with recent outbreaks leading to several deaths.
There is no vaccine for Legionnaire’s Disease. It is caused by breathing in the misted water or soil contaminated with the bacteria. The best way to reduce the risk of contracting Legionnaire’s Disease is for buildings with large-scale water systems — such as hotels like the Rio — to have an appropriate water safety plan. This includes maintaining water at a temperature where the Legionella bacteria cannot thrive, preventing water stagnation, preventing the build up of biofilm by disinfecting the system periodically, and designing the system to reduce the production of aerosols and human exposure to misted water. At hotels like the Rio, guests could be exposed to the bacteria through ornamental fountains, air conditioners, showers, hot tubs, and other sources of water within the hotel.
Currently, the Rio is undergoing a process to disinfect its water system and clean its rooms by using chlorine at very high temperatures. After remediation, the Rio believes that its hotel and water system will be safe for its guests to use again. It is currently unknown whether the two guests who were sickened at the Rio have required hospitalization or further medical treatment.
If a hotel is negligent in designing or maintaining its water safety plan, its negligence could result in an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease. An infection could result in very serious illness or even death. If you have contracted Legionnaire’s Disease, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. At the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help. We offer free initial consultations, where we will explain your rights and your options. We never charge a fee unless we get money for you. Contact us today at 800-333-0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment today.