There are now five reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease, one of them fatal, at Brookdale Senior Living in Vernon Hills, IL.
From Three Cases to Five at Brookdale Senior Living
The total number of Legionnaires’ disease cases at Brookdale Senior Living has increased from three to five since February 5, 2020, when Lake County officials first announced that a 92-year-old male resident had died at the center from the disease, which is caused by infection with a type of waterborne bacteria.
A spokesperson for the center said that it is working with officials at the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Lake County Health Department to investigate possible causes of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak. Both state and county investigators are conducting swab tests and taking water samples from various areas of the center, as well as looking in pipes and other parts of the water distribution system.
Officials are also searching for any similarities in cases involving recently hospitalized patients who have exhibited similar symptoms.
“Did everybody go to the swimming pool at the same time or eat in the same area?” asked Mike Adam, deputy director of environmental health for the Lake County Health Department.
Additionally, Brookdale Senior Living said it is following government recommendations and protocols for disease containment, including shutting off all water features, including the pond and the spa, adding point-of-use filters, and cleaning shower heads.
Legionnaires’ Disease Common at Senior Facilities
Legionnaires’ disease, first identified in 1976 after an outbreak at an American Legion Convention in Philadelphia, is an atypical form of pneumonia caused by infection with Legionella pneumophila. This bacteria may be found naturally in fresh water and frequently contaminates pools, hot tubs, fountains, water tanks, air conditioner cooling towers, and showers. Legionella does not usually pass from person to person but instead spreads when people breathe in mist contaminated with it.
It can take two to ten days for those exposed to Legionella pneumophila to show signs of infection, with symptoms including muscle pain, headaches, discomfort, dry coughing, fever, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, coma, and even death.
Anyone is susceptible to the illness, but Legionnaires’ disease typically targets those who are already in a vulnerable or weakened state, such as the elderly, diabetics, smokers, and those with poor immune function or chronic lung disease. For this reason, senior facilities are especially prone to Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. In fact, there have been similar incidents at residences other than Brookdale Senior Living over the past year.
In January 2020, public health officials announced that there have been at least three Legionnaires’ disease cases at the Covenant Living at Windsor Park retirement community since May 2019, two of them resulting in death. In October 2019, thirteen other cases were reported at Covenant Living at the Holmstad in Batavia, where several residents were hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease.
The highest profile senior facility outbreak in recent state history has occurred at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy. Since 2015, thirteen residents at the retirement home have died from Legionnaires’ disease and at least 61 others have been infected.
Personal Injury Lawyers Advocating for Seniors
If you have contracted Legionnaires’ disease while at a senior facility, the Chicago personal injury attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC are here for you.
With over $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the leading Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. For more than four decades, we have been advocating on behalf of innocent seniors who have been victimized by the negligent actions of others. Our accomplished injury attorneys are dedicated to getting you and your family the justice you deserve.
Contact GWC today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our Chicago personal injury lawyers. You may call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.