Legionnaires’ Disease was first discovered in Philadelphia in 1976 after 200 people became ill with a deadly form of pneumonia. They were attending an American Legion Convention at the Bellevue Hotel. Health officials eventually identified the cause: Legionella bacteria, which had been thriving in the building’s cooling towers, spread through the air conditioning system, aerosolized, and sickened unknowing pedestrians below.
Since 1976, a variety of plumbing problems and insufficient water management have resulted in outbreaks across the country. At least 87 people were infected with Legionnaires’ Disease in Flint, Michigan in 2014 and 2015 after the city switched water sources. In New York between 2006 and 2015, cooling towers were the source of more than 2,000 confirmed cases. From drinking water to cooling towers, Legionella bacteria pose a real threat to American health.
Attention to Legionnaires’ Disease has been further heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some health experts express concern that having been previously infected with a corona virusmakes individuals more susceptible to getting Legionnaires’ Disease. Others, like the CDC, have expressed concern over idle buildings during the shutdown, as stagnant water creates a perfect breeding ground for Legionella bacteria. We need coordination at the federal level, because right now it is being dealt with piecemeal using litigation.
THE MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY JULES ZACHER, P.C. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE OR A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL COUNSEL.