If you contracted Legionnaires’ disease while visiting Las Vegas, you could be entitled to compensation. Legionnaires’ disease, sometimes called Legionellosis, can result in life-threatening or fatal respiratory infections.
Victims can contract this illness when hotels and resorts fail to take steps to protect visitors or warn them of a potential outbreak.
If you developed pneumonia after exposure to Legionella, you could have the right to pursue a legal claim. A Legionnaires’ disease attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your economic and non-economic damages.
What Is Legionnaires’ Disease?
This condition, an especially severe form of pneumonia, develops as a result of exposure to the Legionella bacteria.
According to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Legionnaires’ disease develops after victims inhale small droplets of water containing Legionella. Exposure also occurs from drinking water that contains this bacterium.
Victims can also develop a less severe illness known as Pontiac fever as a result of Legionella exposure. Pontiac fever typically resolves on its own, without medical treatment.
Legionnaires’ disease, however, can lead to death if left untreated. Treatment typically consists of a course of antibiotic medication. Doctors might also recommend or prescribe other treatments to help ease your symptoms.
Legionnaires’ Disease Symptoms & Signs
The symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease typically appear between two and 10 days after exposure. However, some victims do not experience symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
Symptoms can include some or all of the following.
- Shortness of breath,
- Headache, and
- Muscle aches.
Although less common, some victims experience nausea, diarrhea, and confusion.
Pontiac fever, the less severe version of Legionella infection, presents primarily with muscle aches and fever. Victims can experience symptoms within hours or as late as three days after exposure. Symptoms of Pontiac fever typically last not more than a week.
Common Sources of Legionnaires’ Infection
The first documented incidence of Legionnaires’ disease occurred in Philadelphia in 1976. Attendees of an American Legion convention developed symptoms within days. Ultimately, more than 130 victims were hospitalized and 25 of them lost their lives.
In almost every reported case since then, Legionella developed and multiplied in the water system of a large building.
When contaminated water circulates through air conditioning systems (or any type of man-made water system), bacteria can be expelled into the building’s indoor air. Unsuspecting victims become ill simply by being inside the contaminated building and breathing the air.
Contaminated water may also circulate in swimming pools, water fountains, and hot tubs. These building features can also release Legionella into the air. Although rare, victims can also contract the disease by ingesting bacteria-laden water.
As for locations with a high risk of Legionnaires’ disease, Las Vegas sits at or near the top of the list. The sheer number of hotels and resorts in this glittering vacation destination in the desert contributes to this risk.
Every casino, resort, and hotel has multiple swimming pools, whirlpool tubs, and decorative fountains. The high temperatures—which persist nearly year-round—means that air conditioning systems operate around the clock.
What You Need to Know About Legionnaires’ Disease & Legionella
Even if you seek treatment for Legionnaires’ disease, you could experience serious complications. The severe type of lung inflammation caused by Legionella can lead to lung failure and, ultimately, death. In fact, the CDC reports that one of every 10 people who contract this disease will lose their life.
Another risk of this disease is the development of secondary infections. Victims can develop an infection in other parts of the body, including the heart. If you have any existing wounds, you also face the risk of developing an infection at those sites.
Even victims who survive a bout of Legionnaires’ disease are not in the clear. Victims face the potential of ongoing problems including recurring or chronic lung conditions.
These conditions can significantly degrade your quality of life. You could require expensive medical treatment and, in some cases, your condition may prevent you from fulfilling your job duties.
Are Some People More Susceptible to Legionnaires’ Disease?
According to the Mayo Clinic, some people have a higher risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease. Older adults (those aged 50 or above) and anyone with a compromised immune system have a higher risk of susceptibility.
Current and former smokers also face an increased risk of contracting this disease. Anyone who suffers from a chronic lung disease, including asthma, COPD, and emphysema, faces increased risk. Finally, anyone with cancer or chronic illness (diabetes, kidney failure, liver failure, etc.) has a higher risk of contracting this infection.
Even without any of these risk factors, you could be more susceptible to contracting this infection in certain environments. For example, if you spend time in a pool or hot tub—both of which are abundant in Las Vegas—you face an increased risk of getting Legionnaires’ disease.
Likewise, spending time around decorative water fountains and mister systems increases your risk. In Las Vegas, you would struggle to find any hotel or resort that doesn’t have fountains and water features around every turn. Many buildings also have a robust mister system to help cool outdoor areas.
Recent Las Vegas Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreaks
Despite this condition being completely preventable, the rate of Legionnaires’ disease infection has risen steadily in the United States since 2000.
The history of Legionnaires’ disease in Las Vegas includes multiple incidents. In 2017, an outbreak was tied to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The Rio outbreak involved almost 100 victims.
From 2010 to 2011, an outbreak occurred at the Luxor Hotel. This outbreak was tied to one of the hotel’s hot water systems. Also in 2011, multiple victims contracted Legionnaires’ disease at Las Vegas’s Aria Resort and Casino.
Experts believe that many cases go undiagnosed and unreported. If you or a loved one develops any Legionnaires’ disease symptoms after visiting a Las Vegas hotel or casino, seek medical attention immediately. Advise your doctor that you visited a Las Vegas resort and request testing for Legionella exposure.
What Should You Do If You Were Exposed to Legionnaires’ Disease?
In Las Vegas, Legionnaires’ disease cases don’t have to occur—yet they do. If you developed a serious illness due to exposure to Legionella, you deserve justice. The Legionnaires’ disease lawyers of Riley Ersoff can help.
Our experienced team of litigators is dedicated to helping victims who sustained harm due to someone’s negligence. We handle every aspect of your case and fight to get you every dollar possible for your damages. You do not have to fight this battle alone.
Call 866-478-1996 or contact us online now to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation and case analysis with a Las Vegas Legionnaires’ disease attorney.