According to news sources, 24 Hour Fitness in East Memphis, Tennessee has been closed due to a possible outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. Three gym members became sick with Legionnaires’ disease, prompted investigation by the Shelby County Health Department. The gym has closed off parts of the building, including the spa, steam room, and pool. 24 Hour Fitness is notifying members who may have possibly been exposed to the bacteria and attempting to remediate its water systems. Since the incubation period for Legionnaires’ disease is 2-14 days after exposure to the bacteria, there still may be more victims tied to this outbreak.
Showers and steam rooms can provide ample opportunity for legionella bacteria to grow and to be spread to people using those facilities. Showers and steam rooms have ideal temperatures for legionella propagation and water fixtures that aerosolize water, creating a mist that is easily inhaled by people who are in close contact with the water. If the facility has poor maintenance and a lack of a preventative plan, the results can be catastrophic. It is too early in this investigation to know exactly what caused this outbreak to precipitate, or the magnitude. It is unfortunate that three people have already had to battle this deadly disease, especially since it is so easily preventable.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates on this story.