U.S. Senator Bob Casey is fighting for legislation that would create stricter requirements on the part of the VA in reporting cases of Legionnaires’ disease. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Casey is announcing his plan today, but it includes a requirement for the VA to report cases of Legionnaires’ disease as well as detection of Legionella bacteria within 24 hours of discovery. The outbreak at the Pittsburgh VA killed a total of five people and caused 21 to become ill. A major problem was that many cases were not properly reported to health authorities, who could have assisted the VA in taking preventative steps to stop the outbreak.
Although all the details have not yet emerged regarding Casey’s plan for legislation that would influence reporting of Legionnaires’ disease by the VA, it is clearly a positive step after a tragic situation. Hopefully, Casey’s actions in support of these types of laws will lead to more widespread legislation to control legionella, even beyond the VA. Along with the proposed new ASHRAE guideline, steps like these are important to prevent Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks and save lives.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the country. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates on this story.