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3 Sickened with Legionnaire’s Disease from Infected Water at Chicago’s J.W. Marriott

Wondering if you’ll leave your hotel room alive? It sounds more like the plot of an 80s horror flick than a true account of this week at Chicago’s J.W. Marriott Hotel.

Nevertheless, that may be the fate of three guests who stayed at the downtown Chicago hotel who have since been diagnosed with Legionnaire’s disease. At present, public health officials and the hotel are reaching out to more than 8,500 people who stayed at the facility between July 16 and August 15 of this year, to warn them of possible exposure from the hotel’s swimming pool, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Legionnaire’s disease is a severe form of pneumonia, and symptoms generally include fever, chills, and a cough, as well as muscle aches, headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, loss of coordination and occasionally diarrhea and vomiting. According to the medical journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, mortality for patients diagnosed with Legionnaire’s disease is between 5 and 30% if antibiotic therapy is started quickly. Delay in giving the appropriate antibiotic, however, may lead to higher mortality. In response to these latest infections, the Marriott has drained its pool, hot tub, and fountain as a precaution, said the Chicago Tribune.

Despite the hotel’s subsequent remedial steps, however, Marriott may be on the line for damages in Chicago personal injury lawsuits that arise from the illnesses, based on the failure to fulfill their responsibility to provide a clean, safe environment to hotel guests.

The Legionella bacteria – the contaminant that causes Legionnaire’s disease – is most often transmitted through contact with infected water. It may be contracted by breathing in mist or vapors from water contaminated with the Legionella bacteria. Although the disease sometimes spreads through air conditioning systems, the Chicago Sun Times reported that investigators were quickly able to rule that out in this case because the Marriott uses a type of air conditioner that cannot spread the disease.

About 8,500 people stayed at the Loop hotel during the time of the potential for exposure to the infection. Officials on behalf of the city and the hotel are attempting to every guest and staff member who was in the building during the relevant time period. Current guests at the J.W. Marriott were informed of the outbreak via letters left in their rooms this past Tuesday, and all new guests were also informed before they checked in, reported the Sun Times.

Symptoms of the disease generally appear between two and 14 days after exposure, said a statement by the hotel and the Chicago Department of Public Health. Although it cannot be spread from person to person, it is potentially deadly.

If you or a loved one stayed at the J.W. Marriott in the Chicago loop between July 16 and August 15 of this year, contact your doctor immediately. A physician will be able to diagnose whether you have contracted the disease, and should be prepared to discuss or modify treatment to increase the rate of survival and recovery.
Additionally, if you have been exposed to Legionnaire’s disease as a result of the Marriott’s failure of care, contact a Chicago personal injury lawyer to discuss your rights under the law. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and suffering. Our attorneys have extensive experience with these types of cases, and even won a $4 million settlement awarded to three attendees at a national convention who contracted salmonella poisoning, leading to crippling arthritic injuries.