Nov
05
2018
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Every case involving Legionnaires’ disease that this office has been involved in has always had the defense attorney arguing that the bacteria causing Legionnaires’ disease is ubiquitous (found everywhere). By this the defense attorneys mean that because the bacteria legionella can be found naturally in nature, their clients should not be liable to pay money damages to my clients. What the defense attorneys don’t tell you is that although legionella bacteria may be found in water everywhere, it only causes disease such as Legionnaire’s disease when the property owner does not properly maintain the water system. Failure to properly maintain the water system such as water feeding a spa or the potable water system (showers and faucets) in a building is what causes people to get sick. Examples of legionella growing in various buildings are all over the country. A South Loop Chicago nursing home has been associated with two residents contracting Legionnaires’ disease. A Johnsburg Walmart in McHenry County, Illinois has been identified as the potential exposure source for three customers of the store, although the strain of legionella found in the store was apparently not the same as found in the three customers. It should be mentioned here that when a patient is tested for Legionnaires’ disease in the hospital, the test used by the hospital only looks for one strain of legionella, which may explain why the strain found at the store did not match because the store strain was different from one the looked for in the hospital. It should be also mentioned that the Walmart store turned off its water produce sprayers which has also been the source of persons contracting Legionnaires’ disease. Eleven cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been associated with a church in Parma, Ohio. Health officials think that the source of the outbreak was from a cooling tower (see previous blogs on cooling towers as sources for Legionnaires’ disease) of the church. Four cases have been confirmed in Hancock County, West Virginia, with one of the four being an employee of the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort in Chester, West Virginia. The county health department has indicated it is still too early in the investigation to identify the source of the outbreak, although live racing has been suspended at the racetrack. The point of all this is that although legionella may be ubiquitous in nature, because there are cases of Legionnaire’s disease all over the country or everywhere, there is another meaning of the word ubiquitous. So the next time someone uses the word ubiquitous to avoid being held accountable for not properly maintaining their water supply, make sure to ask them what they mean by the word ubiquitous.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 12:34 pm

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