Nov
20
2014
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Working Title: Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro Raises Legal and Public Health Questions regarding water quality liability and Legionella bacteria

By: Jules Zacher, JD MA; Tawny Vu, MPH

Outline

  1. Introduction – importance/significance of XXXI Olympiad
    1. Guests and athletes of the games will travel from all over the world and all could be exposed to bacteria
  2. Dangers associated with Legionella for travelers
    1. False sense of security in hotels (water coming in from water company is not necessarily safe)
    2. Lack of knowledge about water system maintenance within large facilities
    3. LD can be debilitating or even lethal
    4. LD is under-diagnosed
    5. Cases of LD are under-reported
  • History of litigation in U.S.
    1. American legal system
    2. Causes of Action
    3. Jules Zacher’s cases
      1. German citizen who contracted LD at a hotel in New York while traveling for work
      2. Las Vegas hotel LD outbreaks
      3. Spa-associated LD at hotel in Maryland
  1. Liability of corporations
    1. Liability of American-owned corporations to American citizens
    2. Liability of Brazilian corporations, including Brazilian subsidiaries, to American citizens
  2. Liability of Brazilian entities, such as the Brazilian Olympic Organizing Committee
  3. Conclusion
    1. Legionnaires’ disease is dangerous and it has international concerns
    2. There is liability
    3. Prevention is key

 

Outline – LD Brasil

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 9:23 am
Nov
11
2014
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Vila Franca de Xira - Portugal

The Health Ministry in Portugal is now saying that 160 people have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.  So far, at least four people have died and two dozen of those diagnosed are in intensive care.

The greatest concentration of Legionnaires’ disease cases were at four parishes in the district of Vila Franca de Xira, which is approximately 16 miles northeast of Lisbon.

An investigation is still underway to determine the source of the outbreak.

To learn more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 1:34 pm
Nov
10
2014
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Lisbon

According to a Euro News news release on November 9, four people are reported to be dead and over 100 other individuals have been infected with Legionella bacteria in Portugal.  Two of these victims in Lisbon include a 66-year-old man and an 81-year-old woman.

The origin of this outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease is still unknown and few details are known.

To read more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 2:47 pm
Nov
04
2014
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VA-university-drive-consolidation-building2

George Hines of Beaver County, Pennsylvania claims that the Department of Veterans Affairs waited six months before telling him he contracted Legionnaires’ disease in August 2012.

Mr. Hines was receiving treatment for prostate cancer at the VA’s University Drive Hospital campus and was admitted on Aug. 6, 2012 due to fever and pneumonia.  He was discharged four days later without being told of his positive test for Legionnaires’ disease.  The hospital did not notify Mr. Hines of his Legionnaires’ disease until March 5, 2013 during a meeting that included other victims of the same illness.

To read more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 4:52 pm
Nov
03
2014
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VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System

A veteran was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease in September while receiving treatment at the Pittsburgh VA hospital.  Recent tests of the facility, however, show that the veteran, whose name has not been disclosed, did not contract the illness at the VA.

The man was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease on Sept. 26 and an investigation was performed upon discovery of the confirmed Legionnaires’ disease case soon after.  However, it was found that the bacteria found at the VA did not match the Legionella found in the veteran.  This result “strongly indicates the patient acquired the disease somewhere (else) in the community,” said Mark Ray, a spokesman for the VA.

To read more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:54 pm
Oct
28
2014
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APCCDT

Lynne Balaam of Cardiff, a city in Wales, became ill 10 days after a family holiday to Ibiza.  It was found through blood tests that Lynne had contracted Legionnaires’ disease.  She ultimately died on October 18 after four weeks of hospitalization.

Little else is known about this story.  To view the full article, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:13 pm
Oct
24
2014
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Allegheny County DoH

The Allegheny County Health Department is strongly encouraging retirement and other group homes that look after the elderly to be vigilant about monitoring Legionella in their potable water supplies to prevent cases of potentially deadly Legionnaires’ disease.

On October 23, county health officials released approximately 70 pages of guidelines specific to preventing the propagation of the bacteria and diagnosis of the disease in care homes and hospitals.

Allegheny County has been no stranger to Legionnaires’ disease in  recent years such as the outbreak in the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System in which six of 22 patients infected with the bacteria died as a result of their illnesses.

Those of advanced age are known to be a highly susceptible group for Legionnaires’ disease.  Although hospitals are “very, very proactive at this point in being aware of Legionella,” nursing homes and similar facilities might overlook the threat said Sharon Silvestri, the infectious diseases program chief at the health department.

To read more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:55 pm
Oct
23
2014
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Print

A fourth version of ASHRAE’s proposed Legionellosis standard has been released for public review and is available for comment until November 10, 2014.

ASHRAE’s Standard 188P, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems, seeks to establish minimum Legionellosis risk management requirements for building water systems.

The document can be viewed at www.ashrae.org/publicreviews.

According to Tom Watson, chair of the Standard 188P committee, “Building water systems vary substantially in their design and their capability for transmission of Legionella” and that “Scientific evidence is either lacking or inconclusive in certain aspects of Legionella control. The informative guidance is included to provide suggestions, recommendations and references.”

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:54 pm
Oct
22
2014
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Northern AZ VA

The Daily Courier reported yesterday that the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System in Prescott, AZ has discovered potentially deadly Legionella bacteria in its water system during a routine test.

According to VA spokesperson Jean Schaefer, the bacteria were detected on Oct. 14 in water faucets of nine hospital rooms, but she was unsure about how many of these rooms were occupied at the time, whether patients were moved, or if they were given information about the bacterial contamination.

It was reported by officials, however, that the hospital has taken action to decontaminate its water system.  Furthermore, there have not been any cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported in connection with the Northern Arizona VA.

To read more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 2:24 pm
Oct
10
2014
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fire hydrant

A fire hydrant in Ocean City, MD has tested positive for Legionella bacteria.  Test results for samples taken since the discovery are pending. but officials claim there is no cause for concern just yet.

The hydrant on 145th Street tested positive on Sept. 25 and caused larger efforts to be taken to identify the source and possible exposure to the public.  The Worcester County Health Department and the Maryland Department of the Environment are working together with the town to take additional samples.

“We are working with the health department and the MDE to resolve the issue in the best possible manner,” she said. “Upon receiving the news on Sept. 25 that the results of a water sample taken from a city hydrant on 145th Street were positive for legionella bacteria, our water department immediately began taking steps, including taking additional samples as a precaution to ensure that no further actions are necessary.”

To read more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 4:55 pm