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Local Residents Worried About Walmart Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak

Residents in Lake and McHenry counties recently expressed their concerns to local media outlets about an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that may be linked to a Walmart store in Johnsburg, Illinois.

“I’m very shocked,” one shopper told NBC 5 Chicago. “Never had to worry before, now it’s a huge concern.”

In an October 26, 2018 press release, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said that it was working with local health departments in Lake and McHenry counties to investigate the outbreak. The IDPH reported a second, unconnected outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the Warren Barr South Loop nursing home in Chicago.

According to IDPH, state and local health officials identified the Walmart in Johnsburg as “one common potential exposure.” NBC 5 Chicago reports that three people who reported going to the store were recently diagnosed with the serious and potentially lung infection. The store is located at 3801 Running Brook Farms Boulevard.

In a statement, Walmart said that it had taken steps to “minimize and prevent exposure to this problem” by replacing the store’s sprinkler system. The system is used to spray produce in the store.

The personal injury attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., are closely monitoring the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak and providing free consultations to those who believe they may have been affected by it.

What Is Legionnaires’ Disease?

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes, Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia. “Pontiac fever” is another name for it. People can suffer the disease when they inhale tiny droplets of water that contain Legionella bacteria.

Legionella is a form of bacteria that naturally occurs in lakes and streams. However, it can also grow and spread in man-made water systems in buildings such as stores, hotels and hospitals. For instance, in recent years, several outbreaks in the U.S. have been traced to hot tubs, hot water tanks, plumbing systems and fountains.

Typically, people show symptoms of the disease within two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella, according to the CDC. Those symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion.

It is important to get medical attention as soon as possible if you or a loved one notices any of those symptoms. Legionnaires’ disease can be serious. People who are age 50 and older, current or former smokers and those with weakened immune systems face a higher risk than others of contracting the disease. The CDC says that about one in 10 diagnosed cases of Legionnaires’ disease are fatal.

Concerned About Legionnaires’ Walmart Outbreak? Contact Us Today

If you or a family member recently was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after shopping at the Walmart Supercenter in Johnsburg, contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., through our offices in Waukegan or Chicago. You can speak directly to an attorney who will provide a timely and free consultation that carries no obligations. We will review the facts of your case and explain all of your options.

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